A common condition from deep water diving is one reason why the local hospital features two hyperbaric chambers.
The Alpena Regional Medical Center installed its first chamber in August of 2007 to address medical emergencies for divers in the area.
Andrea Dahn, a medical assistant and chamber operator, said, “The chambers go at 100% oxygen and it goes down to the plasma in the patients blood so it has increased healing time. We have lots of different diagnoses that the patient can go in the chamber for. It’s a great asset to the community and we have people come from different areas. The next closest one now is Petoskey so we have a lot of surrounding area in between so we can actually help a lot of people now.”
Dahn said the chambers help to treat divers with the bends, people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, diabetic wounds and failed skin grafts.
She said treatments in the chambers typically run for two hours but can go longer depending on the severity of the diagnoses.