Could you do it?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by TSandM, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many.

    # of Dives:
    Location: Woodinville, WA
    Bob's most recent post on the thread about Chad's death in the PNW struck me, as we had been talking about something similar this afternoon, related to the "buddy dragging you to the surface" thread.

    A prime tenet of Rescue is not to create two victims, but at least in our class, the scenarios we specifically discussed generally involved one person out of the water, and a "victim" in the water. But what if you are there -- What if you are in the water with someone in distress, who has a serious potential for injury or death? What if the action you need to take to help puts you at risk, whether it's a panicked diver dragging you to the surface, or the possibility (not certainty) of running out of air if you go back to rescue someone who is unresponsive or severely impaired at depth?

    Could you abandon someone in trouble, and how would you cope with it if that person were permanently injured or killed as a result?

    I'm not kidding . . . These things happen. Lamont was involved in a rescue attempt this spring that failed, though through no fault of his. I know what I do for a living, and I am quite sure that I could not leave someone to die, no matter what the risk involved to me. I read people here blithely saying they'd yank their regulator out of someone else's mouth to avoid the bends, and I shudder to think of how they would feel if the person drowned as a result.

    It's a downer topic, but like so many other things, probably something we should all give a little thought to in case it happens.
  2. Jeff Toorish

    Jeff Toorish Scuba Instructor

    Not to be crass, but I honestly believe it depends on who the other person is.

    I dive with my kids, most often my daughter, and there is nothing in the world that is going to stop me from helping them, nothing.

    I also dive with some friends that I believe I would go to pretty great lengths to help, including endangering my own life. As a DiveCon, the same for students.

    However, if it was someone from a dive boat that I didn't know and had just been paired with; I'm not so sure. I know I would go to reasonable lengths to assist. I also know that, like you, I have been in more than my share of (non-dive) emergency situations and have done well. But I believe there are limits to what I would do in the situation of diving with a stranger.

    The second part of your question is the issue of coping. Also like you, I have been in situations that, despite my best efforts, someone has been injured or died. I think we all cope with that in our own ways. Personally, I don't buy that bravado persona, so I'm sure I would feel remorse, feel terrible. I also believe if I knew I did what I reasonably should have, knowing that we all understand the risks of what we do, I would probably be able to eventually deal with the emotion.

    In all honesty, I'm not sure there is a good answer to this question other than what I said at the beginning of my post.
  3. Mo2vation

    Mo2vation Yes I Did ScubaBoard Supporter

    There is no doubt. Absolutely I could do it. I've given this a lot of thought. Here's my firm take on the subject:

    I never dive with insta buddies these days. I've reached a place where I just don't need to do that any longer. I say that as a preface to give you a frame of reference. Its like this: I don't dive with strangers. I dive with people I know and love. My wife. My best friends, many good friends, some acquanintances, etc. It wouldn't impact my decision.

    To anyone reading this - here's the bottom line. I will not give my life for yours. I love you all. I love you more than I can convey, but there are people on the surface that I love more, and I will not wreck their lifes by dying to save yours. I'll do everything I can for you, short of dying.

    If it comes down to you or me, I'll send flowers and I'll sleep fine.

    Deal with it, or don't dive with me.

    And by the way, I expect the same from you. If I get in a bad situation and its likely I'll kill you having you get me out of it, you need to bolt. I know the risks, and my life is in order. Do not die for me.

  4. ams511

    ams511 Orca

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Miami, Florida
    I don't think there is a general answer to this question. Each situation is different. Although maybe it should not matter, would you not do more for someone you know than a stranger? Also what about the level of risk involved to the rescuer? Is this person a buddy or just someone else in the area? What is the probability of success of the rescue?
  5. S. starfish

    S. starfish Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Vancouver, Canada
    Fortunately I have only been in one truley life threatening situation (for me) where a buddy of mine ran out of air, panicked and bolted to the surface - the only injury incured was me getting a fractured rib from a fantastic underwater tackle and wrestling match as I crammed my octo into his mouth. That's about as far as I'm willing to go. If the situation involves going up quickly or some such thing where i'm almost guranteed to get seriously injured then buddy's on their own.
    Example: One dive a few months ago, we're at 100 or so feet and my buddy's bc starts to auto inflate - long story short he panics and trys holding me in a death grip in an attempt to stay down (we're at about 100-110 ft). After finding al his dumps to be out of my reach as well as mine I saw no option but to make him let go, which invloved a well placed fist. Not something I involved doing, but he really had a much better chance of survival with me being unbent. Fortunately, nobody was, or has been in my diving experience, seriously hurt.
  6. jeckyll

    jeckyll Loggerhead Turtle

    I think there are two aspects to this Lynne:

    1) The question you asked. Would you do it and how would you feel

    2) The reverse, if it was you and you panicked and dragged someone to the surface and both of you got bent, but the person you dragged up died. How would you feel?

    On number 1, I don't think anyone can say for sure how they will react in an emergency. But cyberdiving, I'd say yes. I could do it.

    As to number 2, I would not want to be responsible for someone dying or getting seriously injured because of something I did. I take steps to prevent being in situations that could have that outcome. I carry extra gas. I plan my dive. I try to ensure that I'm mentally and physically prepared. I practice with my buddies to deal with situations that may arise (sharing air, navigating, shooting bags, underwater communication etc). When I read accounts of people doing advanced dives, unprepared, without redundant gas, without proper planning etc, I think the question must be asked, why should I be at risk due to their lack of planning & concern for their safety? Note that the folks that I dive with regularly feel as I do regarding planning & practice.

    The closest I've come to being in these conditions is in riding sportbikes. I've planned rides where people got hurt. No fault of my own, they decided to push further than they should have. I.E. their ego's wrote cheques that their skills couldn't cache. In the end, it was their choice.

    I don't think there are many easy answers around these issues. And I repeat that IMO people won't know how they will actually react until they find themselves in the actual situation. But I do believe that not only is it valuable to think about this upfront, but this is an excellent discussion topic to have with the people you dive with.

  7. Wildcard

    Wildcard Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Alaska
    People can speculate all they want but you just dont know untill your there. Id like to think I would just let them go but my Hx of 20 something years of EMS has proven to me that when push comes to shove I will put myself in danger to a reasonable level. If I can control a panicked diver and get them to the surface alive then it's worth some risk on my part. If I turn around and someone is shooting to the surface well beyond my reach, I'll go after them as fast as I can with resonable safety. Rember rec limits are called NDLs for a reason, you can asscend without stops, safely.
    This is another "what if" kind of question that people think they know the answer too but that all changes when it realy happens.
  8. Dive Shop

    Over the years I've known more than one person that lost their lives as a result of a "questional buddy". In one case the diver who died was even warned not to dive with the person who I believe "freaked" and left him...

    That said, I don't think I could do it unless I felt I had no other choice or was acting instinctively. I've been in a few situations where students were acting less than ideal and the thought never even came to mind.
  9. Tom Smedley

    Tom Smedley Tommy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Montgomery, AL

    Like you in your profession - I have in the past and probably will in the future let go of some soul that just wasn't destined to make it. When God presses the smite button there is no escape - However - my favorite buddy - if she were in peril and I could not save her - I would wrap my arms around her and we would journey across to the other side as one.

    God what an adventure that must be!!!
  10. lamont

    lamont Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives:
    Location: Seattle, WA
    I can't think of any reasonable situation that I'd be in where I wouldn't try to rescue my dive buddy. I also can't think of any reasonable situation where that attempt would likely kill me...
  11. HBDiveGirl

    HBDiveGirl SoCal DIR

    # of Dives:
    Location: Underwater SoCal. There's no place I'd rather be
    Based on multiple experiences, I know that in shocking emergencies I jump in immediately to rescue.

    And then my brain catches up about 30 to 60 seconds later.
    One of my first rational thoughts is, "Am I safe?" So far, the answer's been "yes" and I've continued.

    I haven't had to make that choice between saving someone else or saving myself.

    If I see an underwater calamity, I'm going to leap forward to rescue..... and that moment of self-assessment is going to come.
    Then... What if I realize that I am in BIG danger?

    Will my self-protective reflex be as strong as my initial reflex to save the victim?

    I think so. I think I would ferociously protect myself from certain harm, just as I know I would leap in when someone else is threatened.

    If that's the way it played out, I would save myself in a howling agony of frustration and screaming fury.

    But I would save myself.

    I could not walk into a hopelessly burning building. I could not let myself drown once I became aware it was about to happen. I'd save myself and it would hurt horribly for a long, long time and I would heal.
    I would never be the same person again.

    If, however, I were not aware of the true risk of continuing the rescue attempt, I wouldn't stop for even a moment and there would be two fatalities.

    Accurate situational awareness would make all the difference.

  12. akbpilot

    akbpilot Surface Interval Member

    If it were my wife or one of my girls, I'd do it or die trying. Anyone else, I'd go to the edge of my comfort zone. If that wasn't far enough, I'd wave goodbye. Like Mo2vation said, I'd send flowers if I knew them, and let the rest of it go.
  13. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Scuba Instructor

    I agree. Over the years I've been involved in a bunch of assists and a couple that would probably qualify as rescues. They ranged from paniced and bolting students where I got my mask and reg punched off my face to having to modify my decompression schedule to stay near divers (not members of our party) who looked like they might be in trouble. Never did I perceive the risk to myself to be all that great.
  14. Lobbster

    Lobbster Angel Fish

    it depends on the person, i would not leave people that i love, i would go as far as i could and then decide on weather either of us would make it. because im not going to risk my life if they die. thats pointless. but for an instant buddy i would do as much as i could. i would not risk my life though.
  15. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Florida - Marianna area
    Also partly due to my profession, I would put myself at a higher risk than most other people. As an instructor, that also comes with the territory. I have made quick ascents to stop other divers from popping to the surface. I didn't really perceive those experiences as much risk, though.

    I'm guessing that the question is asking more about things like bringing unconscious divers to the surface and blowing a stop or ascending too fast. I have to say, it would depend on the situation and the person. I'm around death all the time at work. It doesn't bother me there, but most of the time the people that die are better off anyway. I don't think I would feel the same way in regards to a young, healthy diver. But I also don't see myself giving my life for a situation that I know is futile anyway.

    The only situation I would do that is just as in Tom's example:

    I couldn't have said it better.
  16. D_B

    D_B Biilápache, Dii Shodah? ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: San Diego, Ca.
    I think that a big difference for me would be ... is it a loved one? or a person you don't know? ... I think my actions might be different in each case.
    The bond you share with a loved one is strong and you do not know to just what extremes you will go to save them beforehand. If it was someone I did not know, fear for my safety might cause me to save myself.

    Rescue training says to not make two victims, although it might be hard for me to remember that in the midst of things.
    It also says that to help, and then fail, is OK ... It is better than doing nothing at all.

    Still, no matter the outcome, loved one, or not, it would leave me second guessing myself for the rest of my life, I'm sure.

    Claudette .. thank you for those true and eloquent words, your a good dive buddy
  17. Blacthorn

    Blacthorn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Dubuque, IA
    A lot of people are saying it would matter if they loved the person who was in peril, thats to be expected. But what if it was someone you knew and couldn't stand. Someone you just really didn't like, or might even in some small way hate them. Would you try less to save them? Or would you maybe try harder to prove that you are a better person than you consider them to be?
  18. piikki

    piikki Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast USA
    I would say that if I am choosing who to dive with, I feel more OK going with a person who says they will not kill themselves trying to rescue me than a person who says they will do everything and beyond to rescue me even if it puts them in great risk. Then I know I am diving with somewhat realistic person whose reasoning I can generally follow, and not with someone who I might consider being a bit over the top (“might” being an important world too, I am not judging people by one thing of course).

    I agree with what seems a to be obvious to many - I don’t exactly know what I would do in an emergency until it happens, but I could go to excessive measures depending what the situation is. And naturally, I would risk death for loved ones – or let’s say, I would expect I’d do – to stay real.
  19. mjh

    mjh Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Seattle
    As others have said if it was my wife or a friend I would take any risk. After that experience comes into play. I am comfortable believing that I can look at a situation and judge the risk to myself and the honest potential in saving the person. My first dive instructor (long before octos, and pony tanks) said something that still rings true "one person with poor judgment can dir or two".
  20. The Horn

    The Horn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ontario, Canada
    If I were to look at the situation and decided that I could perform the rescue within a tolerance of danger then I'm good to go. As has been said it would depend on the situation and the person in danger. Would I try is the bigger question

    My dive buddy is a great friend and I would go to great lengths to save him. Someone else I may be a bit more hesitant depending on the situation, what is the problem, how did the problem arise, was I the problem etc

    Tough question as there are too many variables

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