There are roughly two million people in the United States alone that are certified sport scuba divers. Each year, more people who are suffering from various scuba diving related injuries are seen by doctors across the country. This is not necessarily due to a decrease in the level of safety of scuba diving but is probably more a reflection of the growing popularity of the sport.
There are two laws pertaining to the characteristics of gases that are at the root of most diving accidents. The first law is Boyle’s Law and the second is Henry’s Law.
Boyle’s Law, named for Irish natural philosopher Robert Boyle, says that when gas is at a constant temperature, the volume of gas varies inversely with the amount of pressure applied to the gas. This law is at the heart of both arterial gas embolisms and barotraumas. Arterial Gas Embolism (or AGE) is a serious injury that is the result of an air bubble in an artery. This has the ability to stop blood from reaching cells completely. Barotrauma is physical damage to body tissues due to differences in pressure between an air space inside or beside the body and the surrounding gas or liquid.
Henry’s Law is the basis for decompression sickness. It states that the amount of gas dissolved in a liquid is proportional to the partial pressure of the gas in contact with the liquid. In diving terms, when a diver breathes underwater, he or she must breathe air at increased pressure to counteract the elevated pressures underwater. This results in a greater amount of inert gas, nitrogen, being dissolved in the body’s tissues. The amount of nitrogen absorbed by the body is a direct function of both the depth and the duration of the dive.
If you have been injured while scuba diving due to faulty equipment, please contact the Wausau scuba injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-248-0171 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.