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State’s Hyperbaric Treatment Center to remain closed through November

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Daniel Meisenzahl, (808) 348-4936
UH Spokesman, UH Communications
Tina Shelton, (808) 554-2586
Director of Communications , John A. Burns School of Medicine
Posted: Oct 27, 2017

The Hyperbaric Treatment Center (HTC) will remain closed for diving emergencies through November, and the University of Hawaiʻi will provide an update on or by Friday, December 1, 2017. HTC has treated civilian divers for decompression sickness or “the bends” in the state of Hawaiʻi since 1983.

HTC closed October 19, 2017 due to an acute doctor shortage at the 24/7 facility, and the university is actively pursuing multiple options to reopen the facility as soon as possible, including:

·      Aggressively recruiting for a new director and qualified physicians.

·      Contacting private entities that specialize in hyperbaric medicine to explore public/private partnerships.

·      Exploring partnerships with local medical centers.

·      Resuming non-emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment at the center during regular hours to keep staffing at present levels

“The University of Hawaiʻi is committed to seeking a solution for emergency treatment for diving illness,” said Jerris Hedges, the dean of the UH Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. “This is a top priority. We know how important the facility is to the dive community and the state and we apologize for the current situation.”

Hiring the next director and the development of a new business plan are critical steps for the long-term stability of the center. The $1.5 million upgrade to the center is currently scheduled to begin in 2018. The project, funded by the state legislature, will include a complete overhaul of the chamber, upgrades to all systems and renovation of the facility.

As was the practice before the facility’s closure, anyone suffering from a decompression injury is advised to go to the nearest emergency department for treatment.