Friday 26 June 2020: Bermuda Hospital Board is pleased to inform referring physicians and the diving community that its hyperbaric chamber services will resume on 1 July 2020 for elective and emergency service.
The hyperbaric chamber is a treatment chamber used for certain medical (specific types of ulcers) and certain surgical conditions likely to benefit from hyperbaric oxygen treatment. It is also used for diving accidents such as arterial gas embolism, and decompression sickness (‘the bends’). The chamber was closed earlier this year in response to the pandemic and increasing COVID-19 infections in Bermuda. The chamber oxygen was diverted in anticipation of a surge of seriously ill COVID-19 patients who would need all available oxygen in the hospital. Additionally, staff members from the department were seconded to and supported the critical care units in the management of the COVID-19 patients.
Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency & Hyperbaric Services, comments: “BHB prepared early in case Bermuda experienced a surge of seriously unwell patients. To support a threefold increase in critical care beds and ventilator capacity, we had to preserve oxygen and redeploy some of the hyperbaric and wound care staff. We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 infections, and the continued low prevalence in Bermuda suggests it is safe to resume the service.”
Dr Okereke adds: “Recognising that COVID-19 remains a threat and to ensure the safety of the patients and the staff, all the necessary infection control precautions will be followed for all patients and staff. We will continue to monitor the situation closely in case the situation changes. We would like to thank the community for their patience and for understanding of the need to temporarily suspend this service.”