The most common medical problems are simple “squeezes.” These can affect your middle ear or face mask during descent. Squeezes cause pain in your ears. The pain is caused by the difference in pressure between the air spaces of your ears and mask, and higher water pressure as you go deeper in the water. Squeezes that affect the inner ear or sinuses are less common.

Cuts, scrapes and other injuries to the arms and legs can be caused by contact with fish and other marine animals, certain species of coral and hazards such as exposed sharp metal on wrecks or fishing line.

Barotrauma occurs when you are rising to the surface of the water (ascent) and gas inside the lungs expands, hurting surrounding body tissues. In some divers, these lung injuries can be bad enough to cause lung collapse (pneumothorax). The injuries may also allow free air bubbles to escape into the blood stream. This is called arterial gas embolism. Arterial gas embolism often causes chest pain, breathing trouble and neurologic problems such as stroke.

Decompression sickness occurs during ascent and on the surface of the water. Inert nitrogen gas that is dissolved in body tissues and blood comes out of solution and forms bubbles in the blood. The bubbles can injure various body tissues and may block blood vessels. The most common signs of severe decompression sickness are dysfunction of the spinal cord, brain and lungs.

Recreational divers must dive conservatively, whether they are using dive tables or computers. Experienced divers often select a table depth (versus actual depth) of 10 feet (3 meters) deeper than called for by standard procedure. This practice is highly recommended for all divers, especially when diving in cold water or when diving under strenuous conditions. Computer divers should be cautious in approaching no-decompression limits, especially when diving deeper than 100 feet (30 meters).

Avoiding the risk factors noted above (deep/long dives, exercise at depth or after a dive) will decrease the chance of DCS occurring. Exposure to altitude or flying too soon after a dive can also increase the risk of decompression sickness. DAN (Divers Alert Network) has recently published guidelines for flying after diving.

If you or one of your dive buddies has had an accident while diving, or if you would like to discuss a potential diving-related health problem, call the Divers Alert Network (DAN) emergency telephone line (1-919-684-8111). DAN is located at Duke Univer-sity Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Doctors, emergency medical technicians and nurses are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions. See the Emergency Guidelines below for all relevant medical facilities.

Emergency Guidelines

The following information should be used as a guideline in the event of accident in Wakatobi National Park. This includes all diving-related illnesses. If you find your-self in an emergency or other threatening situation, inform your dive guide immediately.

It is essential to find out whether the diver requires recompression treatment, or not.

Any diver with unusual signs or symptoms after diving needs be medically evaluated to confirm or exclude Decompression Sickness. Contact must be made with a qualified and competent diving doctor. For the current situation, as soon as DCS is confirmed, evacuation must be made to a Makassar or Bali hospital. There is a decompression chamber in Wangi-Wangi, but the facility is not yet running (latest point 2018). Please ask your local diving operator for the newest update.


Facilities in Wanci

Wanci has a small hospital but the facilities are considered basic and would only be used whilst awaiting evacuation from Wanci to more extensive medical facilities in Baubau, Makassar or Bali. There is a Decompression Chamber but is not running at the moment.


Rumah Sakit Umum Daerah Wakatobi

Lead Medic: Dr Kartini

  +62 813 5566 9233

   +62 856 305609

Head of Hospital: Dr Irfan

   +62 812 4135 2805


Facilities in Kendari

The medical facilities in Kendari are considered basic. They can be used for patient stabilisation before onward evacuation to Makassar. There are many daily flights between Kendari and Makassar.

R.S.U Santa Anna (Hospital)

  +62 823 4513 2857

  Jl. Lh. Woodward No.1 Kendari 93871


Facilities in Bau Bau

The medical facilities in Bau Bau are considered basic.

Rumah Sakit Umum Buton (Hospital)

  +62 402 282 1803

  Jl. Jend. Sudirman No.20, Bau Bau


Facilities in Makassar

Where there is a serious illness or incident where a patient may require surgery, the patient will be taken to Makassar, which is the home of the best medical facilities in Sulawesi. There are plenty of western standard hospitals and all the facilities you would expect from a major city. Most medical situations including DCS can be handled here.

Siloam Hospital

  +62 (0)411 3662 900

  Jl. Metro Tanjung Bunga Kav 9, Tanjung Merdeka – Tamalate, Makassar, 90225

The Siloam Hospital Group have by far the most advanced medical facilities and services in the whole of Indonesia.

Rumah Sakit Akademis

  +62 411 317343

  Jl. Bulusaraung No.57, Makassar

This large private hospital is to western standards. It is very clean and has highly qualified doctors and surgeons, mostly educated in Europe and the US. It is equipped to a high specification and is ideal for all non-specialist treatment and operations.

Rumah Sakit Wahidin

  +62 411 583333 (for decompression +62 411 583333 8196)

  Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan No.11, Tamalanrea Kampus UNHAS, Makassar

This is the main hospital for the whole of Sulawesi and as such contains all the equipment you would associate with a major hospital. There is a range of specialist doctors capable of dealing with most conditions, highly trained surgeons and proper intensive care facilities. This hospital runs a decompression chamber.


Facilities in Bali

Bali also has a number of decompression chambers and where any diver suffering decompression sickness should be heading at the first instance. This would require a medivac plane to collect from Wanci.


  Emergency Phone: +62361226363

  Switchboard Operator:
+62 361 227911 – 227915
+62 361 224206
+62316 226363

  Jl Diponegoro – Denpasar – Bali

A. +62818511318
(Dr Etty Herawati – Head of Hyperbaric Unit RSLP SANGLAH)

B. +628124672923
(Dr Kadek Sosiawati) Hyperbaric Doctor

C. +62361 227911 – 62 361 227915 (connects to Operator)

D. +628124655281 (Peter Manz – Hyperbaric Health Representative)

E. +62 (0) 21 2997 8988 Global Assitance (Medivac)