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Dr Carl Edmonds

Discussion in 'Passings' started by clownfishsydney, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. clownfishsydney

    clownfishsydney Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    Dr Carl Wildfred Edmonds, OAM, MB, BS (Sydney), MRCP (London), FRACP, FACOM, DPM, MRCPhysch, FRANZCP, DipDHM has died in Sydney aged 83. Carl died last Friday 1 November 2019 "in his chair looking out to sea" at his home on the beach front at Manly.

    Carl was, of course, probably the best known dive physician in the world. After spending time as a doctor in Australia and the UK, he returned to Sydney and from 1967, Lieutenant Commander Edmonds was the Officer in Charge of the Royal Australian Navy School of Underwater Medicine, establishing and refining many of the protocols and procedures for investigating diving injuries, accidents and illnesses. He continued this work to his last days. In 1970 he established the Diving Medical Centre in Sydney. He ran this till 1991.

    Carl was also the President of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) from 1970 to 1975. In 1975 he relinquished the role of the Officer in Charge of the RAN School of Underwater Medicine and from then to 1991 he was a Consultant in Underwater Medicine to the RAN.

    In 1976 he was the lead author, together with Christopher Lowry and John Pennefather, of the underwater medicine bible, Diving and Subaquatic Medicine. This is now in its 5th edition with new co-authors including Simon Mitchell and John Lippmann. There have also been numerous reprints over the years. This book is used by dive medicos all over the world.

    Carl also wrote other books including Diving Medicine for Scuba Divers and Dangerous Marine Creatures.

    After his retirement, Carl and his wife Cindy spent a lot of time travelling the world. However, once back home, Carl returned to his great love, the understanding and treatment of underwater. He continued work on studying dive illnesses and writing and presenting scientific papers. One of his last aims was to increase the understanding of DPE (Divers Pulmonary Edema). He wrote a number of papers on this in recent years.

    I first met Carl in 1989 when he came to give a talk to a dive shop in Sydney where I was a member. I remember being fascinated by his talk and speaking to him about some things after it.

    In 2011, fate would link Carl and myself together on a quest to prove the innocence of a a person unjustly accused of murdering his wife while scuba diving. On 22 October 2003, US honeymooners, Gabe and Tina Watson, from Birmingham Alabama, went for a dive on the wreck of the SS Yongala off Townsville in northern Queensland, Australia. Tina died on the dive.

    Much later, after a very poorly run Coroner's Inquest, Gabe was charged with Tina's murder in Australia. He later returned and pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a charge which did not exist for what really happened anywhere else in the world. While he was in gaol, he was charged with murder in Alabama. Once released, he was eventually extradited to the US.

    In later 2010 I had become convinced Gabe was innocent of murder and that Tina's death was a not so simple case of a diving accident. In mid-2011 Carl was also convinced of this after he looked at the case and his views were published in an Australian newspaper. To cut the story short, eventually he and I were asked by Gabe's Alabama defence attorneys to travel to the US for the murder trial.

    Before the trial, I spent a lot of time at Carl's unit overlooking the beach, talking about the various matters that made up the prosecution's case and what we would recommend to prove Gabe's innocence. Independently, we had came up with most of the exact same ideas about what had happened and why. In February 2012, Carl and Cindy travelled to Birmingham and we again met up in the hotel we were all staying at. Over the next week we attended the murder trial and met with the defence team. Before we left Australia we had sent the team questions to be asked of various prosecution witnesses which would show how ridiculous the idea that this was anything but an accident.

    While at the trial we also presented ideas to the defence on the evidence presented. In the end, our input into this part of the trial helped ensure that the judge through the case out without the need for either of us to actually appear before the court. I know that Carl was particularly proud of the fact that he had prevented an innocent man being jailed for the rest of his life.

    I must say that the week that I spent with Carl (and Cindy) was one of the most remarkable of my life, not just because of the case, but because of the amazing knowledge that he had about scuba diving and medicine and his willingness to share this with me over a meal or drink.

    To Cindy, my thoughts go out to her in this time of sadness and I hope to be able to go to Carl's funeral next week and the proposed celebration of his life to be held in mid-December. Of course to his children Scott, Briony, Kirsten and Mark, their partners and his grandchildren, while we have lost a brilliant scientist, you have lost far more, but be assured that he did so much good for the divers of the world he will never be forgotten.
  2. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
    I met Carl at a number of Oceans Congresses and a SPUMS conference where he always gave interesting lectures that made many of us pale at our transgressions of safe diving practices, especially disturbing when we thought that we knew it all, but really we knew zip.

    Carl had a knack of picking his lecture topic to suit the current diving obsession, I remember vividly the time when sharks were being rehabilitated as being not so bad and bumping them off was thought to be evil. Films were shown of divers feeding and petting them and they appeared totally harmless. Carl then proceeded to show a series of slides where sharks were maybe not so friendly after all and we viewed medical post-mortem shots of discreetly photographed victims that had been victims of various fatal attacks. Once again Carl’s audience began to turn pale under their sunburnt complexions. Nor for the first time in Carl's lectures did listeners contemplate the immediate sale of all of their dive equipment!

    He was a great guy and a driving force in diving medicine and will be hugely missed, you only get a person like him once in a generation.

    My condolences to his family, friends and professional colleagues, this has come as quite a shock as only recently I was talking about Carl on another thread.
    Johnoly and chillyinCanada like this.
  3. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

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