Sight Search

To lie or not to lie?

By Daniel Nord
Daniel Nord provides an overview of what medical statements entail and why it is important to answer all the questions honestly.
 
When it comes to honesty on medical forms, the truth is sometimes elusive. Have you ever been advised to lie on a medical statement when signing in for a dive? Have you ever lied on a medical form simply so you could dive? Have you ever lied anyway, despite getting all the necessary medical clearances, simply to avoid confrontation?
Have you ever felt like it was all a complete waste of time or worse, an invasion of your privacy? You’re not alone.            
Despite the debates, questions and hackles they can raise, you are likely to encounter medical statements during your diving career. Properly executed, they can be an important element of dive safety.
What is the Medical Statement?
The medical statement is a set of unified standards evolved from the need for minimum health standards prior to initiating dive training. Over the decades, fitness protocols for recreational divers have varied widely. Typically established by training agencies, medical statements often integrate input from dive medicine professionals.
As the sport gained popularity and attracted a broader population, dive medicine and dive research have consolidated the information typically requested and now most medical forms address a balance of physical and psychological stability.
From a Legal Perspective
Many dive operators establish their own guidelines for judging whether a certified diver is medically fit to engage in certain types of diving. By asking each diver to complete a medical history form, the operator is trying to avoid undue risk to both his or her business and to the other divers. The document is intended to protect but if the dive staff encourages customers to misrepresent their medical conditions, it defeats the purpose.
While the law may differ depending on location and interpretation, whena diver signs a medical form, he or she is generally attesting to the accuracy of his or her statements. Most forms require you to acknowledge that the statements are both accurate and complete.
A liability waiver usually accompanies the medical history form. When adiver signs a waiver, it generally becomes a contractual agreement stating that he or she will not be entitled to recover damages from the dive operator if said operator engages in negligent conduct.
When a customer misrepresents his or her fitness to dive on a medical historyform, the legal protection of the dive operator is not necessarily violated. The dive operator has the right to rely on written representations that a diver makes about his or her medical conditions. In fact, a diver’s decision to omit parts of his or her medical history may give the dive operator further legal protection through an assumption-of-risk defence. By failing to provide the information, it can be logical to conclude that the diver elected to assume all risks related to the undisclosed medical condition.
Why is the Medical Statement Necessary?
Despite its laid-back, relaxed atmosphere, scuba diving and the environmental conditions encountered are potentially stressful to the human body. Though we now know a great deal more about dive injury prevention and haveincreased safety standards, accidents still occur.
We often hear statements like “had I only known it could be like this”. The hardest scenarios occur when it is too late to change a tragic outcome. Conditions vary and divers need to be fi t enough to respond to worst-case scenarios. The medical statement is intended to red flag any medical issue that may be contraindicated to diving (before the diver gets in the water) and to provide information should a diver get injured and be unable to speak for himself or herself.
Sadly, each year DAN learns of dive accidents and mishaps that happen to divers who have been less than honest in their medical statements. Perhaps the various forms can seem overly generalised, but they do serve as a good starting point in helping people foresee some of the potential health risks associated with recreational diving.
How ShouldYou Answer the Questions?
When faced with a medical statement, the approach to answering questions is simple: answer them honestly. Lying on a form not only leaves you open to injury, but may also impede appropriate medical care due to the omission of vital information.
Be Proactive
Early, proactive approaches to personal health can make a big difference. If you have specific health issues, call your medical professional to make sure you are cleared for diving. Also call the dive operator ahead of time to discuss your medical condition and find out what documentation they will require to allow you to dive. DAN can assist you with information and medical referrals, or even discuss a given medical condition with a dive operator who is unsure about whether your condition is contraindicated to diving. With a proactive approach, it is very likely you will not only receive the medical evaluation you need, but also the appropriate documentation that will enable you to fill out the questionnaire honestly and make it a useful part of safe diving practices.
No one can deny that committed divers have a strong desire to continue diving after a challenge to their health or after developing medical conditions as they age. To lower the risk of injury, divers should honestly disclose and address health concerns. Though it may raise more immediate questions when answering “yes” on a medical form, truthful replies increase your safety as well as the safety of everyone around you in the long run.

Categories

 2021
 April
Aqua Pool Noodle ExercisesUnderwater Photographer and DAN Member Madelein Wolfaardt10 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Underwater PhotographyCOVID-19 and Diving: March 2021 UpdateDiver Return After COVID-19 Infection (DRACO): A Longitudinal AssessmentGuidelines for Lifelong Medical Fitness to DiveExperienceFitness Myth or Fitness Fact?The Safety of Sports for Athletes With Implantable Cardioverter-DefibrillatorsCardiovascular Fitness and DivingHypertensionPatent Foramen Ovale (PFO)Headaches and DivingMiddle-Ear Barotrauma (MEBT)O’Neill Grading SystemMask Squeeze (Facial Barotrauma)Sinus BarotraumaInner-Ear Barotrauma (IEBT)Middle-Ear EqualisationAlternobaric VertigoDecompression IllnessOn-Site Neurological ExaminationTreating Decompression Sickness (The Bends)Top 5 Factors That Increase Your Risk of the BendsHow to Avoid Rapid Ascents and Arterial Gas EmbolismUnintended Rapid Ascent Due to Uncontrolled InflationUnexpected Weight LossFlying After DivingWisdom Tooth Extraction and DivingYour Lungs and DivingScuba Diving and DiabetesDiving after COVID-19: What We Know TodaySwimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)Motion SicknessFitness for DivingDiving After Bariatric SurgeryWhen to Consult a Health-Care Provider Before Engaging in Physical ActivitiesFinding Your FitnessHealth Concerns for Divers Over 50Risk Factors For Heart DiseaseJuggling Physical Exercise and DivingSeasickness Prevention and TreatmentMember to Member: Guidelines for SeniorsHigh-Pressure OphthalmologyOver-the-Counter Medications
immersion and bubble formation Accidents Acid reflux Acute ailments After anaesthesia Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Air supply Airway control Air Alert Diver Magazine Alternative gas mix Altitude changes Altitude diving Altitude sickness Aluminium Oxide Ama divers Amino acids Anaerobic Metabolism Animal life Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Aquatic life Aquatics and Scuba Diving Archaeology Arterial Gas Embolisms Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aspirin Aurel hygiene BCD BHP BLS BWARF Back adjustment Back pain Back treatment Backextensors Badages Bag valve mask Bahamas Balancing Bandaids Barbell back squat Barometric pressure Barotrauma Basic Life Support Batteries Bench press Benign prostate hyperplasia Benzophenones Beth Neale Beyond Standards Biophysics Black Blood flow Blood thinners Blue Wilderness Blurred vision Boat safety Boesmans gat Boesmansgat Bone fractures Bouyancy compensators Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath holding Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing gas contamination Breathing Breathold diving Bright Bank Broken bones Bruising Bubbleformation Buddy Exercise Buddy checks Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 COVID-19 Updates COVID-19 COVID CPR Cabin pressure Caissons diseas California Camera equipment Camera settings Cameras Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Cape Town Dive Sites Cape Town CapeTown Carbon Monoxide Carbon dioxide Cardio health Cardiological Cardiomyopathy Caribbean Carmel Bay Cave diving Challenging Environments Chamber Safety Chamber science Charging batteries Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Charlie Warland Chemotherapy Chest compressions Children diving Chiropractic Chlorophll Christina Mittermeier Citizen Conservation Cleaning products Closed Circuit Rebreathers Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care ColdWater Cold Commercial diving Commercial schools Composition Compressed Air Compressed gas Consercation Conservation Photographer Conservation photography Conservation Contact lenses Contaminants Contaminated air Coral Conservation Coral Reefs Coral Restoration Coral bleaching CoralGroupers Corals Core strength Corona virus Coro Costamed Chamber Courtactions Cozumel Cristina Mittermeier Crohns disease Crowns Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression Cylinder Ruptures Cylinder handwheel Cylinder valves DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN members DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS theories DCS DEMP DM training DNA DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Danel Wenzel Dangerous Marinelife Dauin island Dean's Blue Hole Dean\'s Blue Hole Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression Stress Decompression illsnes Decompression treatment Decompression Decorator crabs Deep diving Deep water exploration Deepest SCUBA Dive Delayed Offgassing Dental Dever Health Diaphragms Diopter Diseases Disinfection Dive Buddy Dive Chamber Dive Computer Dive Destinations Dive H Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Medical Form Dive Medical Dive Practices Dive Pros Dive Research Dive Safety Tips Dive South Africa Dive Training Dive Travel Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive courses Dive excursions Dive exercise Dive experience Dive fitness Dive gear Dive heallth Dive health Dive medicals Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive operators Dive planning Dive safety 101 Dive safety Dive safe Dive skills Dive staff Dive travels DiveLIVE Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Health Diver Profile Diver infliencers Diver on surface Divers Alert Divesites Diving Divas Diving Kids Diving Programs Diving Trauma Diving career Diving emergencies Diving emergency management Diving fit Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dizziness Dolphins Domestic Donation Dowels Dr Rob Schneider Drift diving Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits Dyperbaric medicines EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Eco friendly Education Electronic Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equalisation Equipment care Equipment failure Equipment inspection Evacuations Evacuation Evaluations Even Breath Exercise Exhaustion Exposure Protection Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Factor V Leiden Failures FalseBay Diving Fatigue Faulty equipment Female divers Fetus development Fillings Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Kit First Aid Training First Aid kits Fish Identification Fish Life Fish Fit to dive Fitness Training Fitness to dive Fitnesstrainng Fitness Flying Focus lights Fractures Francesca Diaco Francois Burman Fredive Free Student cover Free diving Free flow Freedive INstructor Freedive Training Freediver Freediving Instructors Freediving performance Freediving Gas Density Gas consumption Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gass bubbles Gastoeusophagus Gastric bypass Gastroenterologist Gear Servicing Germs Geyer Bank Giant Kelp Forest Giant Kelp Gordon Hiles Great White Sharks Guinness World Record Gutt irritations HCV HELP HIRA HMLI HMS Britanica Haemorhoid treatment Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Hazardous marinelife Health practitioner Heart Attack Heart Health Heart Rate monitor Heart fitness Heart rates Heart rate Heart Heat stress Helium Hepatitis C Hepatitus B Hiatal Hernia High Pressure vessels High temperatures Hip strength Hip surgery Hippocampus History Hot Humans Hydrate Hydration Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hygiene Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric research Hyperbarics Hypothermia Hypoxia I-52 found IdentiFin Imaging Immersion Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Indonesia Inert gas Infections Infra red Imaging Injections Inner ear Instinct Instruction Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Interval training Irritation Irukandji Syndrome Isotta housing Joint pain Junior Open Water Diver KZN South Coast Karen van den Oever Kate Jonker KateJonker Kidneys Kids scubadiver Komati Springs KwaZulu Natal Labour laws Laryngospasm Lauren Arthur Learning to dive Legal Network Legal advice Legislation Lenses Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Lightroom editing Live aboard diving Liver Toxicity Liver diseas Liz Louw Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lung Irritation Lung function Lung injuries Lung squeeze Lung surgery Lung MOD Macro photography Maintenance Malaria Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Mandarin Fish Marine Biology Marine Scientists Marine conservation Marine parks Marinelife Masks Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical emergencies Medical questionaire Medical statement Medicalresearch Medication Mehgan Heaney-Grier Mermaid Danii Mesophotic Michael Aw Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Motion sickness Mozambique Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum National Geographic Nausea Nautilus Neck pain Neoprene layers Neuro assessments Neurological assessments Nitrogen Narcosis Nitrogen build up Nitrox No-decompression Non-nano zinc oxide Non-rebreather Mask Nonrebreather masks Normal Air Nosebleeds Nuno Gomes O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean Research Ocean pollution Oil contamination Open water divers Optical focus Orbital implants Oronasal mask Osteonecrosis Out and about Out of air Outer ears Outreach Overhead Envirenments Oxygen Administration Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen dificiency Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen supplies Oxygen supply Oxygen systems Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PADI Freedivers PFI PJP Tech Parentalsupervision Part 3 Partner Training Perspective Philippine Islands Philippines Phillipines Photographers Photography tips Photography Physical Fitness Physioball Physiology Physiotherapy Pills Pistons Planning Plastic Pneumonia Pneumothorax Poison Pollution Pool Diving Pool workout Post-dive Pre-dive Predive check Pregnancy Pregnant divers Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Preventions Professional rights Provider course Psycological Pulmanologist Pulmonary Barotrauma Pulmonary Bleb Pulmonary Edema Pulse Punture wounds Pure Apnea Purge RAID South Africa RCAP REEF Radio communications Range of motion Rashes Rebreather diving Rebreatherdive Rechargeable batteries. Recompression chamber Recompression treatment Recompression Recycle Reef Chcek Reef Conservation Reef safe Reef surveyors Refractive correction Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Renewable Report incidents Rescue Divers Rescue Procedure Rescue breathing Rescue breaths Rescue training Rescue Resume diving Return To Diving Return to diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk assessment Risk elements Risk management Roatan Marine Park Roatan SABS 019 SMB SafariLive Safety Stop Safety SaherSafe Barrier Salty Wanderer Sanitising Sara Andreotti Sardine Run Saturation Diving Save our seas Science Scombroid Poisoning Scuba Air Quality Scuba Guru Scuba Injury Scuba Instructor Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba education Scuba health Scubalearners Scubalife Sea Horses Sealife Sea Shallow dives Shark Protection Shark Research Shark conservation Shark diving Sharks Shipwrecks Shoulder strength Sideplank Signs and Symptoms Sit-ups Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Snorkels Social Distancing Sodwana Bay Solomon Islands Sonnier bank South Africa Spinal bends Spinal cord DCS Spinal pain Splits Squeezes Stability exercise Standars Stay Fit Stents Step ups Stephen Frink Stepping up Strobe Lighting Stroke Submerge tech Submerged Sudafed Sulawesi Sun protection Sunscreen Supplemental oxygen Surface Marker Buoys Surface supplied Air Surfaced Surgeries Surgery Suspension training TRavel safety Tabata protocol Talya Davidoff Tattoes Tec Clark Technical Diving Technical divng The Bends The truth Thermal Notions Tides Tips and trick Tooth squeeze Transplants Travel smarter Travel tips Travel Tropical Coastal Management Tunnelling Tweezers Ultrsound Umkomaas Unconsciousness Underground work Underseaa world Underwaater Photos Underwater floral Gardens Underwater hockey Underwater photographer Underwater photography Underwater pho University of Stellenbosch Urinary retention. Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Valve stem seals Vape Vaping Vasopressors Vasvagal Syncope Venting Verna van Schak Virus infections Volatile fuels WWII wrecks War stories Washout treatments Wastewater Watchman device Water Resistance Water Weakness Weigang Xu Weights West Papua Western Cape Diving Wet Lenses Wet diving bell Wetsuit fitting Wetsuites Wetsuits White balance Wide Angle Photos Wide angles Wildlife Winter Wits Underwater Club Woman in diving Womans health Woman Women In Diving SA Women and Diving Women in diving Womens health Work of Breathing Workout World Deeepst Dive Record World Records Wound dressings Wreck divers Wreck dive Wreck diving Wreckdiving Wrecks Yoga Youth diver Zandile Ndholvu Zoology abrasion absolute pressure acoustic neuroma excision adverse seas air-cushioned alert diver altitude alveolar walls anemia antibiotics anticoagulants antiseptics bandages barodontalgia bent-over barbell rows bioassays body art breathing air calories burn carbon dioxide toxicity cardiovascular cerebrospinal fluid cervical spine checklist chemo port children child chronic obstructive pulmonary disease clearances closed circuit scuba corrective lenses currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants decongestion dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver in distress diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits drowning dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment emergency training environmentally friendly equalising equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue fitnes flexible tubing frediving freedivers gas bubble gas poisoning gastric acid gene expression health heartburn histidine hospital humidity immersion and bubble formation immersion pulmonary edema (IPE isopropyl alcohol jaundice join DAN knee laparoscopic surgery longevity lower stress malaise marielife marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment medications mental challenge mental preparedness micro-organisims micro minor illness mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal near drowning nematocysts neurological newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic otitis media outgas pain perforation phillippines phrenic nerve physical challenges pinched nerves plasters pneumoperitoneum polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive posture prescription mask preserve prevention proper equalization psychoactive pulmonary barotrauma. pulmonary injury. pulmunary barotrauma radiation rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections smoking snorkeling. spearfishing sterilising stings strength sub-aquatic sunscreen lotion swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection tissue damage toxicity training trimix unified standards upwelling vision impaired warmers water quality zinc oxide