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April 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Coral Cuts Can Be Costly

from the April, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Ken Kurtis of Reef Seekers (Beverley Hills, CA) tells us the sobering tale of one of his divers who suffered a minor coral cut or some such while diving in the Indo-Pacific region.

"No big deal, and it probably happens to just about everyone on every trip, and nothing comes of it. However, in his case, it somehow turned into a staph infection. Although these can be fairly mild, some are known as MRSA (basically, they're resistant to antibiotics), and this may have been what he picked up. He spent 18 days hospitalized and is still somewhat weak, but recovering. The good news is that he has medical insurance. But the bad news is that it wasn't going to cover everything, and his total bill before insurance was $750,000."

Yes, you read that right! Three-quarters of a million dollars!

Undercurrent's senior editor, John Bantin, had a similar experience in 1999, with what initially appeared to be an inconsequential coral abrasion but which turned nasty. Luckily he benefitted from the British National Health System, and treatment in the hospital didn't cost him a penny. Nevertheless, it was so serious he was lucky not to lose a leg.

Kurtis goes on, "This is where DAN comes in, because, as a secondary insurer, they picked up a lot of what his primary insurance didn't cover. So while he had to pay a little bit, he doesn't have to file for bankruptcy just because a small cut got infected. So bear in mind that your DAN insurance policy can be very valuable to you when traveling, even if you're not on a diving vacation. The main caveat is that the injury has to occur at least 50 miles from your home. But it bears remembering that it's an inexpensive insurance arsenal, and if you don't have DAN insurance, you should join DAN and get signed up today." (

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