Diver Medical Technician text by Cmdr Ron Ellerman

I just received my copy of Diver Medical Technician by Cmdr Ron Ellerman from Amazon today. Ron taught my DMT course in Roatan, Honduras.  I agree with Dr. Peter Holzhauer–it’s a great compendium on prehospital emergency care and diving medicine.   Just a quick look through the text will show you that.

The text covers

  • History of Diving and Hyperbarics
  • Roles and Responsibilities of the Diver Medic
  • Diving Physics
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Patient Assessment
  • Decompression & Recompression tables
  • Hyperbaric Chambers
  • Pressure Injuries/Illness
  • Medical and Marine Injuries
  • Airway & Breathing Maintenance
  • Vascular Access & medication administration
  • Soft Tissue Injury
  • Musculoskeletal injury
  • Cardiac Emergencies
  • Related Medical Procedures
  • Saturation Diving Issues
  • and “Live Bait”



Of course, I’m also quite happy that Ron included one of the photos from my DMT course.   Page 11-39, figure 11-19 has a great photo of an infiltration at an IV site.   Here’s the color version.

bulging under the skin due to IV infiltration

While Ron listed “Photo by Jon Rusho” he left out “Infiltration by Jon Rusho”, too.

Ron kindly left out that the infiltration I took a photo of was also my fault.  Sorry about that, Bryce.    It was a great learning experience, even though it was painful.   If you want to see more of the photos, click here for our IV practice lab.

Ron also included one of my photos showing a jellyfish sting.  [Page 9-32, Figure 9-26]

skin irritation from a jellyfish sting redened stripes where the person was stung

Unlike the IV, I only took the photo here. Unfortunately, this diver was stung by some jellyfish tentacles.

If you’re interested in the DMT text, the DMT program or just being better prepared while diving, check out Ron Ellerman’s Diver Medical Technician text.  You can also sign up for his DMT program at www.divermedicaltechnician.com

DMT Recertificaton & Continuing Education

DMT Recertificaton

Here’s a short summary of what the National Board of Diving & Hyperbaric Medical Technology requires:

  • 24 CEUs related to emergency medicine
  • 24 hours of diving medicine or other emergency related experience
  • Medical fitnesss to undergo compression/fitness to dive
  • documentation for invasive skills
    • IV access
    • IM injections
    • SQ injections
    • urinary catheters
    • NG/OG tubes
    • airway suction
    • advanced airways
    • chest decompression
    • BLS

And…that’s every two years.

As I’m coming up on the 2-year mark since I completed my DMT training with Hyperbaric Training Associates, I’m focusing on getting all of my training done.

The first problem I ran into was that my initial EMT training was in Central America and the State of Utah didn’t recognize it.   Earlier this year, I completed a Utah-approved EMT course through Cole-Holland.  This was a good refresher and, since Utah has adopted the revised National curriculum, it keeps me up-to-date.   Unfortunately, the EMT curriculum covers only a few skills necessary for my DMT recertification.    My next step is the Advanced EMT course, which will cover almost everything except chest decompression and urinary catheters.   I’m still on a hunt for local training in those skills.

Does this mean that I waited until the last minute to accumulate CEUs?   No way!   I’ve participated in several continuing education programs, including online seminars from Divers Alert Network (DAN) and a really interesting program co-sponsored by JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) on improving the quality of CPR.

Comparing my initial EMT training with the EMT training I received through Cole-Holland, there were some big differences in approach.   Both approaches were good, for the environment they’re in, though.

Cole-Holland has an excellent team of EMS instructors that have a lot of experience in urban fire service-based EMS.   Some of the best aspects included a team-approach to dealing with emergencies.    The ride-along arranged with Sandy Fire Department provided an excellent application of what we learned in class and labs.   My EMT training in Central America, though, highlighted the lack of developed EMS systems and that an EMT often needed to be a bit more creative since there may not be a team to help.   From a Dive Medic point-of-view, the Central American approach is probably the more applicable if you’re in a remote location.   When a DMT is in an area supported by a well-developed EMS system, though, working as a team makes more sense.   I’m very happy to have seen and worked in both environments.

Time to step away from the computer and go read some more of my Advanced EMT text…


Cue the music…Diplomas all-round for the new DMT’s.   Gimp wasn’t very impressed, though.

IV part II

Ok…we’ve all passed our written exams.  Class is effectively over.  Just one more thing–Bryce and I wanted to try IV’s on “live tissue”   As we were the only ones crazy enough, Ron set us up.   Bryce’s veins were easy to hit, but I still blew the vein by running the fluid in to fast.   My veins weren’t so easy.  After an attempted stick, Paul volunteered his arm.  Paul was pretty gung-ho.  He let Bryce “dig” for the vein a bit.  Unfortunately, Bryce didn’t have enough pressure proximal, so Paul bled a bit.   The look on Ron’s face when he walked back in was priceless.

Ortho Casting

Lab time again–this time orthopaedic casting.   A useful skill if you’re in the middle of nowhere and a buddy breaks a bone.   Paul had an interesting hand gesture to convey his feelings.