Decompression unit to offer lifeline

Local | Riley Chan 13 Sep 2017

The Hospital Authority's first Recompression Treatment Centre to cope with diving incidents and carbon monoxide poisoning will arrive in November and begin operating next March.

The center is to provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which is the breathing of pure oxygen at higher than atmospheric pressures in an enclosed chamber.

According to Lau Chor-chiu, chief executive of the authority's Hong Kong East Cluster, the process causes oxygen to be absorbed by all body fluids and by all cells and tissues, even those with blocked or reduced blood flow.

This increased flow of oxygen stimulates and restores function to damaged cells and organs, thus speeding up the healing process.

It is mainly used to treat patients suffering from decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning and stubborn wounds, Lau said.

Patients presently have to undergo treatment at a center on Stonecutters Island run by the Fire Services Department.

Lau said that center is mainly for firefighters and police training purposes as it lacks clinical treatment support.

The new center in Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan will provide a better location and enhance the efficiency of patient transfer.

Lau said a total of nine nurses and two doctors from A&E and ICU will be stationed at the center which can accommodate three bed-bound patients or 15 sitting patients at a time.The chamber will open for eight hours initially, extending in phases to 24 hours in accordance with demand.

To cope with growing elderly service demand in the district, meanwhile, the Hong Kong East Cluster has added 20 acute beds at this hospital.

Tung Wah Eastern Hospital will also provide geriatric support for 250 elderly orthopedic patients through an ortho-geriatric collaborative care model.

Extended rehabilitation services in the cluster will cover weekends and public holidays for patients suffering strokes, lower limb fractures and arthroplasty, for an additional 1,150 physiotherapy attendances.

A Sterilization Service Department has also been set up to coordinate the services between the six hospitals and 10 general outpatient clinics and community nursing service centers in the cluster.

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