Medicine: Case of the Parboiled Diver

At 37, Yoshio Oyama was a skilled veteran in deep-sea diving. For 20 years he had flirted, unscathed, with underwater hazards, of which the deadliest is the invisible "bends"—nitrogen coming out of solution in the blood and forming bubbles that cause excruciating pain or paralysis. A fortnight ago, Veteran Diver Oyama met the bends.

From the dinky little salvage vessel Daiei Maru (a misnomer, for it means Great Prosperity), Oyama plunged into Nagasaki Bay in hopes of salvaging enough scrap iron to make it worth the effort and risk. Four times he went down...

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