Nov 9 - Dec 31, 2017

Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber

Mission

The Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber is a charitable project of the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The Hyperbaric Chamber is a critical community resource ensuring the safety of recreational and scientific divers, and military personnel throughout central California. Enhancing the understanding and appreciation of our ocean and coastal resources is integral to all we do. As we strive to increase the enjoyment of the ocean, the chamber is a vital aspect to ensuring accidents do not become tragedies.

The Big Idea

Run solely by volunteers, the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber is the only emergency treatment facility of its kind for divers and pilots between southern California and Seattle.

The Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber has served a critical role in the treatment of decompression illness (DCI), related to both diving and flying, and carbon monoxide poisoning cases since it was established over 50-years ago, saving over 550 lives. It is a vital component of our areas’ reputation as a world-class recreational diving destination, and an important resource for scientific divers and military pilots who are regularly exposed to significant changes in atmospheric pressure, making them susceptible to decompression illness.

The facility depends upon community support to ensure its availability to treat emergencies 24/7/365. Funds are used for chamber operations and maintenance expenses as well as on-going specialized medical training for the volunteer MDs, RNs, DMTs, and EMTs that donate their services for the chamber.

Recently, with the Travis Air Force Base hyperbaric chamber offline, the need for our facility has become even more important, serving the needs of all branches of the military.

During a training flight, an abrupt fluctuation in cabin pressure inflicted me with decompression sickness (DCS). I landed safely but was delayed chamber treatment by 1.5 hours due to the closure of the Travis AFB chamber and the subsequent search for an alternate chamber. Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber (PGHC) was the first chamber to agree to receive me. The volunteers at PGHC were professional, attentive, and highly qualified individuals who expressed genuine interest in my safety and successfully treated my DCS symptoms. With the absence of a hyperbaric chamber at our Naval Air Station, the continued closure of the hyperbaric chamber at Travis AFB and the relative frequency of F-18 pilot exposure to DCS, the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber plays and will continue to play a crucial role in providing 24/7/365 available treatment to pilots who have the misfortune of experiencing DCS.

— United States Navy F-18E/F Pilot (Withheld to preserve medical confidentiality), (Withheld to preserve medical confidentiality)