• Working to redeem the hyperbaric chamber (pictures)

    It and its monoplace predessor have treated an estimated 400 patients since 1966 but Pacific Grove’s hyperbaric chamber has been offline for a number of months for, of all things, insurance reasons. The chamber pumps pure oxygen at high atmospheric pressure to treat sufferers from decompression sickness and air embolism — primarily scuba divers — as well as victims of carbon dioxide poisoning.

    hyperbaric chamber inside webhyperbaric chamber outside web

    But PARSAC,the joint powers authority with which Pacific Grove carries its liability insurance, reminded the city manager that the policy precludes the city from operating a medical facility, and that’s what the hyperbaric chamber is.

    So the scramble began to find a medical facility or other entity to form a partnership where Pacific Grove would act as “landlord.” Tom Frutchey said that they negotiated with CHOMP, which has two hyperbaric chambers of its own and uses them to treat hard-to-heal wounds as well as divers’ problems. Frutchey also worked  with Divers Alert Network. When both of those avenues proved to be dead ends, the volunteers who ran the chamber looked nto forming a non-profit 501 (C)(3).

    But recently PARSAC representatives informed Frutchey that Pacific Grove could obtain insurance coverage elsewhere, outside the JPA, and continue to operate the hyperbaric chamber which is so important to divers who use the area for recreational diving.

    The hunt is on. Risk Manager Kathy Krysna is in the process of obtaining quotes for the coverage through specialty carriers, and Frutchey is hopeful the problem will be solved soon, and hopefully before someone needs the facility.

    He has nothing but praise for the volunteers, who, he says, have worked long and hard to maintain training levels and rehabilitate the chamber, which is now  more than 30 years old. “They are a wonderful group of people,” he said.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on February 21, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News, About PG


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