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An incorrect medical diagnoses lead to an $850,000 settlement for a commercial diver suffering from decompression illness and a heart condition. If the condition had been properly diagnosed the diver may have been able to prevent further injury. However, because he continued to work at the direction of the employer he developed a heart condition along with neurological complications from the decompression illness prevent him from resuming his work as a diver.
When a commercial diver felt ill after surfacing from a dive, he sought the guidance from his supervisor. The supervisor along with an EMT who was consulted about the diver’s symptoms concluded that he was suffering from a virus, either flu-related or intestinal, and recommended that the diver be transported to a hospital on land so as not to infect any of the crew on the barge.
Upon arriving at the New Orleans hospital, the diver was re-diagnosed with decompression illness, possibly complicated by a congenital heart condition. As the decompression illness had gone so long without treatment, the diver now suffers from neurological complications that, along with the heart problem, will prevent him from returning to his work as a commercial diver as he has now been labeled as medically unfit to do so.
The diver filed lawsuits against both his own employer and that of the EMT who made the incorrect diagnosis. The first lawsuit is filed under the Jones Act because of planning negligence on his employer’s part and failure to administer emergency recompression treatment as called for under the U.S. Navy’s emergency medical protocol. The lawsuit against the EMT sites negligence due to the incorrect medical evaluation by the EMT.
Although both defendants denied the allegations and placed the fault on the diver for improperly reporting his symptoms as well as on the heart condition, the lawsuit was settled in the diver’s favor for $850,000
This lawsuit is one of many dive settlements that are part of the complex body of maritime law. This can be a tricky area for many to navigate, but the law firm Delise & Hall has built a practice based on years of experience and knowledge in this practice. For more information about maritime law in general, the Jones Law, or settlements in dive lawsuits and other maritime suits, you can access the firm's website at www.divelawyers.com or call them at 1-800-DIVER 55 (1-800-348-3755).
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