The Royal Hobart Hospital’s hyperbaric chamber retired after 25 years of this week.
The old chamber has assisted 1 850 patients and provided over 29 600 patient treatments.
It was designed by the first head of the department of diving and hyperbaric medicine, Dr Paul McCartney.
The decommissioned chamber can still boast the largest windows in the world for a six-atmosphere hyperbaric chamber. Other design features such as underground noise suppression and the internal colour palette chosen for its mood and temperament enhancing qualities, were ahead of their time.
Under the Tasmania Government’s safe hyperbaric strategy a temporary multi-place chamber will commence service delivery alongside two new mono-place chambers.
These hyperbaric chambers are part of the Tasmanian Government’s $12 million investment in hyperbaric medicine during the RHH Redevelopment.
Patients can be assured they will have ongoing safe access to hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
The RHH Rescue Taskforce recommended that the decommissioning of the existing multi-place hyperbaric chamber be brought forward to eliminate risk from its close proximity to construction, and ensure continuity of service.
The temporary chamber has been installed away from the direct impact of the construction on the Collin Street side of the current hyperbaric unit.
A temporary multi-place hyperbaric chamber has been leased during the construction of K-Block build so that full hyperbaric oxygen treatment capability is maintained and will be able to treat divers who suffer decompression illness.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a well-known treatment for decompression illness. It assists by squashing bubbles which form in the blood and tissues after divers have been exposed to pressure underwater.
It is also used to treat other conditions that affect many Tasmanians every year - tissue injury from radiation treatment for cancer, diabetic wounds and serious infections such as gangrene for example.
The hyperbaric facility that will be installed on level 3 of the new K-Block is in the process of being built. The new state-of-the-art chamber is due for delivery into K block in the latter half of 2018, followed by the final commissioning once K block is completed.
- The RHH’s multi-place hyperbaric chamber after its final dive.
- Nursing, medical and technical staff past and present of the department of diving and hyperbaric medicine, RHH
27 Mar 2017