Hyperbaric Chamber of Medical Secrets

My dad’s friend, Jeffrey, came over for dinner last night. I hadn’t been aware of this, but he’s been in hospital receiving treatment for decompression illness, which he acquired while scuba diving. I won’t go into the details of that, but something that interested me in his rundown of events was the use of a certain kind of oxygen therapy by the hospital in treating the condition.

From what Jeffrey said, it seems to involve spending time in these things called a hyperbaric chambers. In Melbourne there aren’t that many facilities that have these oxygen chambers. Even so, their use is quite well established in current medicine. I didn’t fully grasp the whole concept, but it’s something to do with breathing air that contains more straight oxygen than ordinary air.

It seems that this is used to treat a whole range of conditions, not just decompression sickness. I think it’s sometimes used in conditions involving, like, necrotic tissues, because it enables more oxygen to reach the tissue that’s struggling to access it. Good stuff.  People are even getting into it as a way of attempting to mitigate certain effects of conditions like autism, to the extent that it’s possible to buy portable hyperbaric chambers for home use.

It’s pretty cool that there is, in fact, a solid treatment for decompression sickness – that whole shenanigan sounds pretty terrible. It’s also good that the technology exists here in Melbourne, so that Jeffrey was able to access it. It’s a funny thing with these advances in medical tech – I’ve never heard of hyperbaric therapy before, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

I wonder what people pay for these portable chamber systems. I’d imagine that it’s the kind of thing someone might choose to invest in if they new they were going to be having long-term, ongoing treatment; Jeffrey kind of insinuated that it wasn’t cheap receiving it at the hospital.