Diver Medical Technicians (DMTs) are generally divers who are trained in advanced first aid and work in the onshore and offshore occupational diving industry. When they are not underwater themselves undertaking their diving role, they are part of the dive team on the job and are prepared to act in the event of an accident or medical emergency. When working offshore, DMTs may be required to intervene within a dry bell or chamber and therefore must know how to perform a medical intervention in hyperbaric conditions.
Roles and Responsibilities
A DMT is responsible for the management under normal and hyperbaric of a wide range of medically-related conditions including:
Decompression illness including pulmonary barotrauma and gas embolism
Dangerous marine animals injuries
Injuries to skin and eyes
Near drowning, secondary drowning, vomiting under water
Fractures, sprains and muscle trauma
Carbon dioxide retention and poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Other breathing gas contaminants, e.g. hydrocarbons
Asphyxia, pulmonary oedema
Anoxia and hypoxia
Underwater blast injury
High pressure nervous syndrome (HPNS)
To manage these conditions the DMT may employ special skills such as oxygen administration, suturing, intravenous infusions or administration of drugs and use of medical equipment.
Responding quickly and accurately in sometimes very challenging environments and possibly with limited resources – for example, working offshore it may take days before access to a decompression chamber is available.
Highlights and Rewards
Occupational diving is a notoriously hazardous occupation and therefore the DMT plays a central role in maintaining the health and safety of the dive team. It involves a high degree of responsibility but with that comes the reward of preventing serious accidents and saving lives in the medical emergency events.
How Do I Become a DMT?
ADAS DMT training is competency-based and takes place over no less than 10 days at ADAS-accredited Training Establishments (ATEs).
Management of medical conditions (as listed above)
Understanding of the structures and functions of body systems
Medical management in a hyperbaric environment
Appropriate use of clean and sterile techniques and understanding of the importance of personal hygiene
Ability to gather an accurate medical history and to elicit physical signs (e.g., pulse, respiratory rate, high and low thermometer reading, blood pressure)
Methods of caring for a casualty on site and during transportation
The administration of oxygen.
Management of diver illnesses and accidents
The management of medical emergencies within a diving bell
Use and maintenance of medical equipment available at the site of a diving operation
Medical record keeping (including confidentiality)
The proper use of drugs and intravenous fluids
Ability to suture, to set up intravenous infusions and the parenteral administration of drugs
Ability to assist in insertion of pleural drains, catheterisation and in-airway management.