There’s a lot deep sea divers risk when they descend into the depths of the ocean, but one of their biggest fears has nothing to do with underwater predators, it has to do with rising back up to the surface too fast.
Decompression sickness, which occurs when a diver ascends from a depth too fast, is a potentially fatal condition and one that divers are trained to and desperately work to avoid when coming back up from a dive.
There are many agonizing symptoms that come from this diver’s disease, but Alejandro Ramos Martinez’s decompression sickness is unprecedented in its nature. The former diver has decided to bare all to show the horrific aftermath of his condition.
Decompression sickness, more commonly referred to as ‘the bends,’ is an illness that arises due to a rapid release of nitrogen gas from the bloodstream caused by bubbles forming in the blood when a diver ascends too quickly to the surface of the ocean.
Former fisherman, Alejandro Ramos Martinez, fell victim to the bends after rose too rapidly after diving to catch sea floor creatures off of Peru’s coast in one of the deepest areas. However, Martinez’s case of decompression sickness was unique in that nitrogen got suck in balloon-like pods around his muscles.
While he’s lucky to be alive, the condition saw him suddenly gain more than 50 pounds and caused his body to swell up to twice his size. His almost fatal diving error cost him his job as he’s been required to undergo routine oxygen treatments in a pressurized chamber.
Martinez’s doctor at the hospital San Juan de Dios, Miguel Alarcon, revealed to the press that they’ve managed to reduce the nitrogen in his body by 30 percent. However, the unique nature of his sickness has inclined doctors to keep researching him.
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According to Cuarto Poder, surgery to remove nitrogen from Alejandro’s body has proven to be incredibly difficult because the nitrogen bags are attached to his flesh. Despite the treatment Martinez has received, he still suffers from constant pain alongside other symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms of decompression sickness can include swollen joints, mottled, itching skin, brain damage, paralysis, headaches, coughs, dizziness, loss of balance, and shortness of breath.
Alejandro Ramos Martinez’s near fatal accident occurred four years ago and doctors are still searching for ways to eliminate the nitrogen bubbles from his body. Doctors estimate that he still has at least another 100 sessions in the hyperbaric chamber.