The man's chest and arms inflated like balloons due to the "bends"

Four years ago, Peruvian fisherman Alejandro Ramos Martinez dived into the sea to dig out some shellfish. A professional swimmer, he returned to the surface very quickly. Though the skin on his upper body was tingling a bit, Alejandro thought he'd be fine. But then, soon after he left the water, his arms and chest stared to inflate massively.

His body became so swollen that he looked like the Incredible Hulk. His swollen muscles were pressing on his lungs, and they felt itchy too. He even gained around 66 lbs in weight. As the situation worsened, Alejandro went to hospital. His swollen body was a great shock to the doctors.

Alejandro's symptoms were as a result of "the bends" or decompression sickness. The nitrogen in his blood had expanded as he had risen up through the water too fast. It sometimes affects divers and fishermen, but doctors had not heard of it causing people's arms and chest muscles to swell up.

Currently, Alejandro is receiving oxygen treatment in a pressurized chamber. Doctors say they have managed to decrease the amount of nitrogen in his body by 30%, but any surgery to remove the nitrogen bubbles inside him is currently thought to be too complicated.

Alejandro can no longer dive because of his balloon-like body, which means the accident robbed him of his livelihood. We hope he makes good progress with his treatment so he can return to his old way of life soon.




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