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Rob Hunt

Your Complete Guide to Failing Your Dive Medical

Why would you want to fail your dive medical?

Tough one to start with this. To be honest, I’d have preferred it if you’d asked me something a bit easier this early on, but I’ll give it a go anyway. There are several reasons why you might want to fail your medical, but the most likely is that you’ve got ten quid on with your other half to see who’s the most unfit. They passed their medical on a technicality when their hypertension exploded the sphygmomanometer. The mortally wounded doctor panicked and accidentally signed off the medical thinking it was a prescription for PanaceaTM, a homeopathic multivitamin wristband so strong it can even cure death (especially death: have you ever been treated by a dead doctor? No. The answer is no). Doctors keep PanaceaTM a secret because they don’t want you to have it because they had to go through 16 years of medical school whilst you were out on the lash chatting up undesirables with dubious sexual morals. None of that’s really relevant, but you asked. Anyway, now you have to fail your medical.

How should you prepare for the medical?

Half a bottle of ouzo should do it. The more dedicated might like to visit a gym six times a week and lock themselves in the toilet cubicle for two hours eating chocolate coated crisps in a pasta sandwich which is further sandwiched inside two actual meatball sandwiches with extra syrup relish, washed down with a tub of jam and some delicious fags. Extra points for heading over to the free weights section on the way out to keep Dr Mike happy and tripping over a kettlebell.

Crunch time: first impressions

Doctors insist on making crass judgements with regards to people’s health on flimsy pretexts such as physical signs and symptoms and extensive laboratory investigations. There’s always a chance you’re healthier than you think: on no account, therefore, should you present yourself as the primary focus of interrogation. NEVER turn up to your medical alone. Ideally you’ll be able to locate Victor, the 157kg bloke attached to the end of the bar in your local, ply him with a few pints of large, get him vertical, and have him answer all of the doctor’s questions for you. The only words you should exchange with the doctor yourself are when you insist that Victor proceed with the interview wearing nothing but underpants and socks. If Victor is unavailable, a feral animal is the perfect substitute. If you can arrive with a rabid squirrel not-particularly-well-secreted somewhere about your person, you will be off to a winning start. Failing that, for 20 quid you can borrow Loquita (my cat) if she’s not busy attempting to sever one of my arteries in my sleep. The toxoplasmosis is free.

A breakdown of all the sections you need to fail

Eye Test:

Keep your eyes shut. Or wear zombie contact lenses.

Hearing Test:

Fill your ears with something. Marmite is good; concrete is better.

Fitness Test:

Traditionally this used to be a step test, where you step up and down on, well, a step, and it was easy to fail simply by launching yourself at the step with such gusto that you missed it entirely and knocked yourself out on the doctor’s secret stash of PanaceaTM wristbands, ideally breaking an ankle in the process. Unfortunately, these days dive doctors have better methods of assessing fitness, usually involving having you sprint 13 miles on a treadmill and electrocuting you every time you slow down with those pads that they pretend are for an ECG but are really just electrodes (that’s why they’re on your nipples). If you survive that they make you bench press Victor in his pants.

Blood Pressure:

N/A, thanks to your other half. Have you considered that they deliberately destroyed the sphygmomanometer in order to give you one less way to fail the medical because they are so selfish that £10 means more to them than you do? If you haven’t considered it, then you should. 3am is a good time to do this.


The ouzo should help with this, but I have noticed that when a doctor asks you to stand on one leg and says they’re going to watch you balance it’s suddenly really hard to balance. If you’re not neurotic enough for the seeds of this simple psychological panic plant to grow, I commend you for being so delightfully well-adjusted, you absolute freak.

Urine Test:

Just do a poo on the little strip of paper. If you think that’s childish and disgusting, get Victor to do it. He’s hammered.

Lung Volume:

Ideally you’ll have been smoking enough for bits of what remains of your lungs to make their way down the tube you have to blow into. Failing that blow on it like you’re blowing on a cup of tea. Then pour the tea into the tube whilst the doctor is distracted with resuscitating Victor (without the help of PanaceaTM wristbands).

Psychological Assessment:

A psychological assessment is not traditionally a part of a dive medical, but given that you’ve turned up with a rabid squirrel you'll probably get one anyway.

Congratulations, you’ve failed.

What happens next?

Well, no diving obviously. But in the same way that you’re not now a nuclear physicist because you couldn’t be bothered revising for GCSE maths, your future is determined by past decisions. Who did you take along with you to the medical?


You buy Victor two pints with your £10 winnings. He falls on you. You are dead.

Rabid squirrel:

You spend your £10 winnings on rabies injections. The squirrel also had Marburg virus, which is untreatable. You are dead.


You spend your £10 winnings on kitty treats. The wrong kind of kitty treats. Loquita kicks your guts out. You are dead.

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