Willy has been convinced for four years that his swollen body is due to the accident
After examining Willy's blood and tissue, Dr Aguado confirmed that Willy does have nitrogen bubbles lodged in his fatty tissue
A diver has finally found out why his body ballooned after a fishing accident. Alejandro Ramos, nicknamed Willy, once made a living from the sea but whilst diving for shellfish four years ago, a cargo ship accidentally cut his air hose.
The 56-year-old, from Pisco, Peru, said: "I was working at a depth of around 19 fathoms. A cargo ship was coming it went over my air hose and cut my air hose in two.
"I knew I had to surface fast I couldn’t stay any longer. I let go of my lead belt. I got pushed up like a bullet I went up like 'pfff'. I started to lose all my senses.
"I opened my eyes everything was blurry.”
Willy survived, but his body ballooned, leaving his entire upper torso swollen, and he was 30kg heavier.
He added: "I became very depressed, I was close to killing myself."
Willy’s sister, Mary, added: "People ask questions, kids too.
"They come up and touch him when he is sat down and grab his swollen shoulders…
"The way he's now, he shouldn't be alive. But at least have the satisfaction that he's here with me.”
Willy has been convinced for four years that his swollen body is due to the accident, but doctors have never been able to verify his theory.
Recently, the diver travelled to Naval Hospital in Lima to meet with Dr Raul Aguado, a specialist in Hyperbaric and underwater medicine.
Dr Aguado measured Willy’s arms at 74 centimetres each and his chest at 135 centimetres.
The specialist has regularly treated patients who have been in diving accidents, commonly with ‘The bends.’
This is when divers return to the surface too quickly, not allowing nitrogen enough time to leave the body.
Instead, the gas transforms and is released as bubbles.
These bubbles can block blood vessels and get trapped in joints causing pain and swelling.
The Bends is usually treated by breathing oxygen in a pressurised vessel, such as a hyperbaric chamber.
Unfortunately this treatment has never worked for Willy.
Dr Aguado said: "I've never seen a case like Alejandro’s before.
"I've seen patients who’ve had subaquatic illnesses and arrived completely swollen but with the hyperbaric chamber these have disappeared in one to three hours.”
"In my opinion? I think this condition was caused by a diving problem."
After examining Willy's blood and tissue, Dr Aguado confirmed that Willy does have nitrogen bubbles lodged in his fatty tissue.
Now that he has the answer he has waited four years for, he can undergo a series of treatments including reconstructive and aesthetic surgeries to cut off the tissue.
Willy said: "There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe one day I’ll go diving again and see the islands."
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