Incident Report

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Incident Report 2020-05-01T16:26:00+00:00

Ruptured eardrum

Incident Date

1970-01-01

Incident Description

At the time wed explored this sump to -36 m then up to -20 m. Id been to the end and was returning via the deep elbow towards base. I was unable to clear one ear on the descent despite many tries and eventually had to go for it as air reserves were getting low. My eardrum ruptured and I was banned from diving for 6 weeks whilst it healed and prescribed broad spectrum antibiotics to mitigate against middle ear infection.

Lessons Learned

This is a serious problem for cave divers in up and down sumps which force you to descend to get back to base. Prepare for it by: 1. using nasal decongestants such asOtrivine adult formula nasal spray as a precaution before diving. 2. carry greater than normal air reserves to give more time to sort out a blocked eustachian tube or sinus - thus minimising the need to have tocrash them. 3. Avoid diving this kind of profile in a sump id even slightly affected either by an upper respiratory infection or allergic rhinistis. 4. If it happens reascending will usually unblock the eustachian tube. Also apparently ear clearing is slightly easier in the head up position than the head down position. 5. Consider carrying Otrivine and using it before returning through up and down profile sumps when working beyond.
Factors
Line Management Unknown
Gas Management Unknown
Equipment Management Unknown
Equipment Failure Unknown
Training Unknown
Medical Major
Planning Unknown
Procedural Error Unknown
Cave Environment Major
Weather Unknown
Other Factor Unknown