Local Medical care for DCS/AGE - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 08-29-2014, 08:05 AM   #1
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Default Local Medical care for DCS/AGE

From the FB group Gulf Coast Dive Society
w/ permission:

Julio R. Garcia
19 hrs
Good morning everyone,
Well the situation keeps getting worse in my opinion. We received a DCS injury from Panama City on Saturday night from Panama City Sacred Heart Bay Medical. Now mind you they have a 6 ATA multiplace at their facility. The delay in treatment for this individual was greater than 8 hours by the time they were transported by airmedivac. Ft. Walton Beach Medical Center stated clearly that they "no longer treat SCUBA divers, send them to Springhill" after they identified themselves as a facility that would treat DCS to DAN. I found out in June of 2014 from DAN that they were claiming to treat DCS and since that time they have balked on 5 DCI from the Northwest Panhandle of Florida. You can call their center to this day and their voice mail directs hyperbaric emergencies to their ER. On Monday night, we received a 28 y/o intubated arterial gas embolism with paralysis to the entire right side. This came from the same facility in Panama City that has a multiplace hyperbaric facility. There was a patient who could potentially have long term neurological sequel and at that time, even death waiting for treatment in their ER, a facility with a mutlipace hyperbaric unit.
We subsequently treated the individual on a USN TT6 with minimal improvement. We completed the treatment at 0730 on Tuesday morning. By this time I had 4 team members, including myself and a physician who had been up >24 hrs. Myself and my technical director had just treated the other DCS all night Saturday. It comes with the territory but good lord. I had to cancel all outpatient treatments for the day. This was a total 6 lost hyperbaric treatments. Paying, revenue producing treatments, after paying my staff time and half. Now my medical director had a full day clinic on Tuesday in his Internal Medicine practice. He was not so fortunate to get 4-5 hsleep prior to doubling back to treat the AGE again. Not only is this a tremendous risk for the patient, puts a tremendous strain on resources, a negative financial impact and takes a physical toll on a small community hospital. We as a community hospital in Alabama are having to provide emergent hyperbaric medicine support to the Florida panhandle tourist industry despite them having an abundance of hyperbaric facilities.
On the 2nd treatment, Tuesday evening, the patient regained use of his right side. We cried with relief. We were able to extubate the patient and he is stable and still recovering at this time.
I have contacted every official I can think of about this crisis for greater than 6 years now. This includes the Diver's Alert Network, PADI, the UHMS, the offices of Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Congressman Bradley Bryne, the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialist, the US Navy and the US Air Force. This threat poses a clear and present danger to our public safety divers, homeland security dive teams, DoD dive teams, every search and rescue and police department on the Florida coast; not mention every recreational diver that frequents the Florida coast on vacation for diving excursions. Until there is a body count of any significance no one is going to take notice or do anything to address the problem. We as a community will address to problem reactively instead of proactively. I mourn the day this happens as it is only a matter of time.
Today Fox News will interview the near fatality and highlight the danger to the community. I can only hope this brings positive change.
With utmost sincerity,
Julio R. Garcia RN, BSN, CHT, ACHRN
Program Director
Springhill Medical Centerours
Center for Wound Care and Hyperbarics





this is a tragedy waiting to happen....
at some point the business models need to be adjusted ....
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:19 AM   #2
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This has been a significant problem in our area for more than 10 years and there doesn't seem to be a solution. The irony of the situation is that the remarkable safety record of our local area divers keeps the patient count below profitable numbers for the chamber operators. The increased operations costs and liability incurred in treating a diver further reduces the incentives for the chambers. Thanks to Julio and the folks over at Spring Hill for hanging in there for us!
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:57 AM   #3
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It's a shame with NAMI having a complete treatment facility here on base at NAS Pensacola. Or at least they did have one don't know if it still operational or not. I was treated within an hour of an accident some 15 years ago with complete relief. Thanks Julio..
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealark View Post
It's a shame with NAMI having a complete treatment facility here on base at NAS Pensacola. Or at least they did have one don't know if it still operational or not. I was treated within an hour of an accident some 15 years ago with complete relief. Thanks Julio..
It's still there
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:05 PM   #5
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NAS chamber available only to active duty.
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