Norman Keith Ian McIver

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 03 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5889
  1. James Douglas

Norman Keith Ian McIver (“Nick”) was the key UK diving physician during the early years of the North Sea oil industry. He pioneered clinical treatments, medical support for the offshore gas industry, and medical standards. He succeeded Robin Cox, who had set up the North Sea Medical Centre at the Gorleston Medical Practice in Great Yarmouth, and he further developed the general and diving medical support services. The rush to extract gas from the southern sector of the North Sea off East Anglia introduced a new offshore industry that constructed gas platforms and pipelines. The technology to boost the UK economy and switch from coal gas to natural gas in the 1970s came from the USA’s Gulf of Mexico, with an attendant pioneering, and sometimes cowboy, spirit. Divers were required to spend as long as physiologically possible at 50 metres, which is the limit for air diving, in order to do heavy manual engineering construction underwater. The US navy had a bomb planting technique called surface decompression, which was applied commercially in the southern gas fields but produced a high rate of spinal decompression sickness when the military …

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