Get On-Demand Now

Simon Mitchell

Professor Simon Mitchell

Professor Simon Mitchell's Topics:

Topic 1:

Dirty little secrets: what is happening (and should be happening) in response to decompression sickness among technical divers.

Everyone knows the treatment for decompression sickness (DCS) is oxygen and recompression. But what is really happening out there in the technical diving community? Are divers with DCS symptoms self-treating, and what are the outcomes? Is it OK to self-treat some symptoms, how, and under what circumstances? What is the medical community's view of this? This presentation will address these questions and other related topics.

Topic 2:

Should technical divers be conducting in-water recompression?

There are few diving medical topics more controversial than in-water recompression to treat decompression sickness. The medical community has typically been dismissive of the idea, partly because of the lack of definitive answers to two pivotal questions: 1. does very early recompression really make a difference? 2. do shorter shallower recompressions than can be performed in a chamber actually work? Recent work has provided answers. These answers, combined with the fact that technical divers operate in very remote locations and have a skill set that makes in water recompression less risky, have compelled the medical community to reconsider this issue. This presentation will review where we are now.

Professor Simon Mitchell

Professor of Anaesthesiology, School of Medicine, University of Auckland


Simon is a physician and scientist with specialist training in diving / hyperbaric medicine and anaesthesiology.  He is widely published with over 160 papers or book chapters. He co-authored the 5th edition of “Diving and Subaquatic Medicine” and the hyperbaric and diving medicine chapter for the last three editions of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He has twice been Vice President of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society (USA) and in 2010 received the society’s Behnke Award for contributions to the science of diving and hyperbaric medicine. He has performed substantial research on patient safety in the operating room.

He now works as a consultant anaesthetist at Auckland City Hospital, and Professor in Anaesthesiology at the University of Auckland. He provides on-call cover for diving and hyperbaric emergencies at the North Shore Hospital Hyperbaric Unit in Auckland.

Simon assumed the role of Editor-in-Chief of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal in January 2019.

Professor Simon Mitchell speaking at OZTek 2019

Simon’s diving career has included more than 6000 dives spanning sport, scientific, commercial, and military diving. He has been a lead member of teams that were the first to dive and identify three deep wrecks of high historical significance in Australia and New Zealand. At the time of one of these dives (2002) the 180m depth represented the deepest wreck dive ever undertaken.

He was elected to Fellowship of the Explorers’ Club of New York in 2006, and was the DAN Rolex Diver of the Year in 2015.

His most recent expeditions were Truk in November 2019, the Pearse Resurgence cave (New Zealand) in February 2020, and a New Zealand project to take arterial blood gas specimens from an elite freediver at 60m in February 2021.

Professor Simon Mitchell speaking at OZTek 2019