A fisherman who suffered a horrible case of decompression sickness has revealed his now-deformed body as doctors attempt to treat him.
Peruvian Alejandro Ramos Martinez used to work as a seafood fisherman. One day, he dove off the South American country’s coast to one of the deepest parts of the local ocean to catch edible creatures.
Unfortunately, while coming out of the water, Alejandro made a nearly fatal mistake! He rose through the water too fast, causing the nitrogen dissolved in his blood to form bubbles.
The nitrogen swelled into great sacs inside his body, causing him to gain nearly 32kg in weight as his arms and chest ballooned. It also left him suffering from extreme agony and great pain.
This effect is a rare symptom of what is known as decompression sickness or “the bends” and is one of the dangers most feared by divers.
Symptoms include swollen joints, mottled, itching skin, brain damage, paralysis, headaches, coughs, dizziness and nausea.
Decompression sickness, usually caused by ascending too fast when scuba diving, can also be fatal.
Alejandro is now being given oxygen treatments in a pressurised chamber.
Miguel Alarcon – a doctor at the San Juan de Dios hospital in Pisco, Peru – said he and his colleagues have so far managed to drain about 30 per cent of the nitrogen in Alejandro’s body.
Doctors are also keenly researching Alejandro’s decompression sickness because of its unprecedented nature.
They have considered surgery to remove the nitrogen from Alejandro’s body but fear the operation would be too difficult.
For now Alejandro endures severe pain and walks with difficulty because of the accident. He also suffers from serious hypertension.