Kim Martin is facing staggering medical bills following his accident during a dive to the Lusitania shipwreck off the coast of Co Cork
Kim Martin, an expert scuba diver from Ontario, Canada, remains in the intensive care unit at Galway University Hospital with mounting medical bills nearly two months after a diving accident off the coast of Co Cork.
Read More: Heroes! Meet the men from Ireland who helped make the Thai cave rescue possible
Martin, who is now paralyzed from the chest down, was part of an elite team of scuba divers who were visiting the Lusitania shipwreck off the coast of Kinsale, Co Cork on August 8.
The dive was the last stop on Martin's 'bucket list' of world-famous shipwrecks, and he was due to marry his fiancee Kristin Chadwick the week after the Irish dive.
A GoFundMe page launched by Martin's friend Pat Shannon explains that Martin was subject to an "unexpected incident" during the decompression portion of the dive that went some 100m below the water's surface.
Martin was treated for decompression sickness, or 'the bends,' at the surface before being airlifted by helicopter to the nearest hyperbaric chamber in order to save his life.
Read More: Amateur divers find 1917 U-Boat wreckage off Cork coast
Speaking with CBC, Martin’s fiancee Kristin Chadwick, who was at home in Canada and flew to Ireland when she learned about the accident, said: "It's a long-term, life-altering spinal cord injury.”
"Kim has experienced what's called a spinal stroke, so that's a lack of blood oxygen."
She added: “From my conversations with the other divers, and from the crew on the boat that day, we can ascertain that Kim was not weighted appropriately for the dive,” Chadwick said, noting that her fiancee has been diving for over 30 years.
Read More: How a 104-year-old telegraph machine was recovered from the Lusitania shipwreck
As Martin’s time in the hospital continues, so do his medical bills. According to CBC, divers are commonly covered by the Divers Insurance Network, but Chadwick says Martin forgot to renew his membership before the trip.
"It was something that I kind of nagged him about, and we had a couple of little tiffs about before the dive," she said.
Most of Martin’s approximate $360,000 worth of medical bills would have been covered had he had renewed his insurance, but Chadwick says Martin’s team of doctors have told her not to focus on that for now.
The divers' insurance would have also helped in sending Martin back to his native Canada, as he will need a private plane with a dedicated medical team for the journey, something that Chadwick says is being quoted for about $90,000.
The GoFundMe launched for Martin is seeking $100,000, and as of Monday afternoon, about $85,000 has been raised from more than 1,700 donors.
On it, Chadwick says: "The generosity the Irish people and people all over have shown us is exceptional. It is why I believe. I believe in Kim and I believe in humanity. The world is a beautiful place."