In a published article back in Oct 2011 (phillyburbs.com), the author pointed out some very interesting things regarding the lack of regulations that are governing hyperbaric facilities, especially those not in a hospital setting. It is great to see that Tom Workman is still pushing for UHMS accreditation of hyperbaric facilities in and out of hospital settings (albeit, it is still seen as cost prohibitive by some hospital and free-standing centers). I believe that this accreditation is important and should be supported 100%.
In a very short span of three years, the hyperbaric community has suffered several accidents that have resulted in deaths unlike ever seen before in the United States. It is becoming apparent that either complacency, lack of training, lack of safety procedures, and quite possibly lack of luck combined with the exponential increase in hyperbaric chamber usage in the US as well as a lax regulatory system is causing more and more unfortunate hyperbaric events. The most unfortunate part of it is that these were not plastic gammow bag chambers – these accidents were solid hyperbaric chambers.
I do not understand why people want to “Bury” this negative smear on the “oh so perfect hyperbaric safety record” that we have enjoyed up to 2009. Shhh, keep it quiet and no one will pay us any attention and we can just continue to be complacent. Well there you have it, we have swept that 2009 accident under the rug and therefore NOTHING has changed. Unless we talk about it and contribute to increase and enforce the safety standards we will have more of these unfortunate events. I am sure even the “Good ol boys club” will agree with what I just said.
Take a look at RICHARD BARRY, CHT for example. Richard has been working tirelessly for almost 5 years (maybe more) that I know of to get some answers regarding flammability & materials testing inside the chamber in order to come up with a “NO FAIL” list of items including wound care dressings and supplies to MAKE HYPERBARICS SAFER! The UHMS committee that Richard oversees is called the UHMS Material testing Advisory Committee (MTAC) started in 2010 but Richard and I have discussed this at a very early stage (circa 2007 or so). Do you want to know how much the committee has to raise? $50k, and that’s just to start the process.
Now let us talk about how much he currently has raised in all this time, according to the Nov/Dec 2011 UHMS publication, Pressure – Richard has raised $14K. Surely we are a lot closer to the 50k mark but we sure are waaaaay off. More so than that, let us do some math and count the number of HBO chamber manufacturers and management companies around, surely each one can pony up $1,500.00 each right? Why haven’t they? Let us count how many hospital programs there are out there (last estimates were 1,000 hospital HBOT programs in the US right?), that would mean that each hospital program has to pony up $36.00 each (or 1/3 of a Medicare segment for HBOT).
Wake-up hyperbaric people, it is time to do your part and participate in “OUR OWN SAFETY” as well as those that we treat. No more willy-nilly fly-by-night operations, no more short cuts. Get accredited, give back to your profession, do it right the first time, and support the UHMS MTAC by sending a check to:
Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society
Re: Material Testing MTAC
21 West Colony Place, Suite 200
Durham, NC 27705 USA
I wish there was an easier way such as sending the money via PayPal – Richard please let me know if this is possible.