Simon Mitchell - Explaining decompression sickness and hyperbaric treatment

Simon Mitchell - Explaining decompression sickness and hyperbaric treatment

Professor Simon Mitchell joins dive-pro Matt Waters on the Scuba GOAT podcast to pour a healthy amount of clarity over the common confusions between decompression sickness, decompression illness, and arterial gas embolism.
Simon is a physician and scientist with specialist training in diving medicine and anesthesiology. He is widely published with over 150 papers or book chapters. He co-authored the 5th edition of 'Diving and Subaquatic Medicine' and has two chapters on decompression illness in the most recent edition of Bennett and Elliott. He has twice been Vice President of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society (USA) and in 2010 received the society’s Behnke Award for contributions to the science of diving and hyperbaric medicine. In the past, Simon was a naval diving medical officer and medical director of the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine in Brisbane. He now works as a consultant anaesthetist at Auckland City Hospital, and Professor in Anaesthesiology at the University of Auckland. He provides on-call cover for diving and hyperbaric emergencies at the North Shore Hospital Hyperbaric Unit in Auckland.

Simon assumed the role of Editor of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine in January 2019.

Simon’s diving career has included more than 6,000 dives spanning sport, scientific, commercial, and military diving. He has been a lead member of teams that were the first to dive and identify three deep wrecks of high historical significance in Australia and New Zealand. At the time of one of these dives (2002) the 180 m depth represented the deepest wreck dive ever undertaken. He was elected to Fellowship of the Explorers’ Club of New York in 2006, and was the DAN Rolex Diver of the Year in 2015.

Ref: (n.d.). DHM, Simon Mitchell. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2023].

0:00 Introductions
02:00 How did you first get into diving?
04:30 Simon’s Career & diving merge
09:35 Royal New Zealand Navy
14:54 Explanation of Decompression Illness comprising of Decompression Sickness & Arterial Gas Embolism
18:55 Patent Foramen Ovale
20:40 RSTC Medical questionnaire
23:00 Are you over 45?
24:00 Smoking and diving
27:00 Disabilities & diving - The Scuba Gym
31:00 The abuse & misinformation of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the high street
37:38 Non-specific signs and symptoms of DCS
44:05 subcutaneous emphysema
48:00 Arterial Gas Embolism
50:30 How the dive profile helps the medical practitioners evaluate signs and symptoms
57:16 US Navy table 6 - recompression for patients
59:48 Interesting & challenging cases
01:03:45 Are we complying with recommendations commendably?
01:12:02 Imersed Stridor laryngospasm
01:20:28 The Future of hyperbaric medicine
01:23:50 Simon's most rewarding moments - Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur
01:36:35 How do you describe your position as a diver to people who are not familiar with the activity?
01:38:18 Is there an increase in issues due to a lack of preparation?
01:40:50 If someone wanted to pursue a career similar to yours, what advice would you give them?
01:45:27 If you could change anything about the diving industry or scuba diving in general, what would it be?
01:46:25 What are your thoughts on ways to minimize human impact on the oceans?
01:48:48 Is there a particular conservation effort that you are particularly passionate about? If so, which one and why?
01:50:29 Has your passion for (diving or your industry) changed over time, and if so, how?
01:52:20 What are your top five bucket list destinations?
01:54:54 How would you describe the dive community to a non-diver?
01:57:50 Of the many safety procedures, we have in the industry, if you had to choose one as the most important, what would it be?

science, technical diving, safety, must know,

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