Hyperbaric Medicine Unit opens at the Royal Adelaide Hospital

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Former and current staff from the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) will reunite to celebrate the official opening of the new unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, 33 years after the original facility opened.

The $4 million hyperbaric chamber within the unit took three years to install and is the single most expensive piece of equipment within the new hospital.

The state-of-the-art triple lock recompression chamber has the capacity to treat up to 20 patients across two compartments.

The chamber is so large that the unit had to be built around the equipment after it was installed.

Dr David Wilkinson, the Clinical Lead of the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit said the team is made up of highly trained medical, nursing and technical staff that provides Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for a wide range of conditions.

“We see people with infective conditions, people who need treatment for Dysbaric or Bubble Injury, non-healing wounds, sudden hearing loss, delayed radiation injury or toxic gas poisoning,” Dr Wilkinson said.  

“We operate a routine Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment from Monday to Saturday and are available on call for emergency treatments 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Dr Wilkinson said.

Czes Mucha, the Nurse Unit Manager of the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit, said the service is also the control centre for the Divers Emergency Service telephone, which provides support for diving activities in the Pacific and South East Asian region.

“This emergency service receives around 500 calls a year from all over the world,” Mr Mucha said.

As well as providing medical treatment, the chamber is also used to test the fitness of police divers, who will also be on hand to celebrate the unit’s proud history.

The Hyperbaric Medicine Unit at the RAH is the second oldest diving and hyperbaric facility in Australia, first commencing operations in 1985.

The South Australian state referral service for diving and hyperbaric medicine and has an international reputation in the field of HBOT.

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