Monterey Bay has become a premier diving destination, offering some of the most beautiful and pristine diving areas in the country. The City of Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula, has provided medical treatment to injured divers with its hyperbaric chamber since 1966. The City of Pacific Grove provides for many of the chamber’s operation needs, yet the facility needs continued fiscal support to offer these important medical treatments. Please consider a donation to augment the City funds and ensure this much needed, important resource remains open for the local dive community.
With proper training and equipment, SCUBA diving is an exhilarating sport, with many divers also engaged in diving professionally. This is especially true of the Monterey Bay region where there are divers involved in scientific research, underwater photography and filmmaking, fisheries and aquaculture, and a world-class aquarium.
While every effort is made to prevent diving associated injuries, these accidents do occur and can sometimes be serious. Decompression illness (DCI) affects scuba divers, aviators, astronauts and compressed-air workers. It occurs in approximately 1,000 U.S. scuba divers each year. Moreover, DCI hits randomly.
DCI encompasses two diseases, decompression sickness (DCS) and arterial gas embolism (AGE). DCS is thought to result from bubbles growing in tissue and causing local damage, while AGE results from bubbles entering the lung circulation, traveling through the arteries and causing tissue damage at a distance by blocking blood flow at the small vessel level.
Since DCI is a random event, almost any dive profile can result in DCI, no matter how safe it seems. The main risk factor for DCI is a reduction in ambient pressure, but there are other risk factors that will increase the chance of DCI occurring. These known risk factors are deep/long dives, cold water, hard exercise at depth, and rapid ascents. In some cases, the disease is mild and not an immediate threat. In other cases, serious injury does occur; when this happens, the quicker treatment begins, the better the chance for a full recovery.
The treatment for DCI is recompression. Step one is stabilization at the nearest medical facility, before transportation to a recompression/hyperbaric chamber.
The City of Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula, has been offering hyperbaric chamber treatments since 1966. The first chamber accommodated one patient at a time while the current chamber, acquired in 1984, is big enough to fit several patients and medical attendants.
For a number of reasons, the chamber was recently offline for much of 2012 and 2013. Yet with the help of a number of local research and education institutions along with others in the dive community, the chamber has now reopened. The City of Pacific Grove provides for many of the chamber’s operation needs, yet the facility needs additional fiscal support to continue to offer these important medical treatments.
Please consider a donation to ensure this much needed, important resource remains open for the local dive community. All levels of contribution will help and 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go directly towards chamber operations.
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For more information about diving physiology and medicine visit the Divers Alert Network at www.diversalertnetwork.org. Serving scuba divers for more than 30 years, Divers Alert Network (DAN) provides emergency assistance, medical information resources, and educational opportunities to its members. In addition, DAN’s dive accident insurance helps cover the costs of treatment for scuba diving related injuries. We are big fans of Divers Alert Network.