Diver Safety Featured Headline Training/Education

DAN Affiliate Hyperbaric Chamber Saves Navy Pilot

As the chamber’s patient care and outreach efforts continue, Divers Alert Network® (DAN®) the world’s largest dive safety organization, would like to recognize the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber for its excellent record of care and prompt and effective treatment of an injured U.S. Navy pilot who suffered type II DCS symptoms after an equipment malfunction during a training mission.

The injured pilot, who experienced a loss of cabin pressure at approximately 18,000 feet, experienced severe chest pain, weakness, abdominal pressure, and confusion upon landing – symptoms consistent with Type II DCS. He was transported to the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber via helicopter and ambulance for immediate recompression. After treatment, the pilot had complete resolution of symptoms and returned to his home the following day.

The Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber is a free standing facility operating a multi-place hyperbaric chamber located in Pacific Grove, CA, that treats injured recreational and scientific divers, individuals with carbon monoxide poisoning, and active-duty military members. The chamber has been inspected by the United States Coast Guard and approved for use by the military. The Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber relies on private donations and support from the DAN Recompression Chamber Assistance Program (RCAP) to maintain services and provide emergency care. The chamber is staffed by a dedicated team of volunteers, and has been in operation since 1966.

Staff medical and technical training has been made possible with grants from the DAN Recompression Chamber Assistance Program, and staff physicians have attended UHMS/NOAA Physicians training courses as a part of the outreach program. Donors interested in contributing to the chamber can do so through the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, or by making a tax-deductible donation to the Divers Alert Network Recompression Chamber Assistance Program.

The DAN Recompression Chamber Assistance Program was founded in 1993 to address an immediate need for support, staffing, and training among Caribbean hyperbaric chambers that were inadequately supported and could not treat injured divers. Driven by the success of outreach in the Caribbean, the program expanded to locations around the globe, and now offers funding grants, staff training and equipment to hyperbaric chambers from the United States to the South Pacific to expand the DAN Mission and improve diver safety across the globe.

“The work that the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber does as a part of the RCAP program exemplifies the DAN Mission and the progress this grant was created to foster,” said Dr. Matias Nochetto, DAN Director of Medical Services and Programs. “This situation is an excellent example of how the DAN Recompression Chamber Assistance Program creates real and effective improvements in safety worldwide.”