Hyperbaric chambers from New Orleans to Tampa are filled with Covid-19 patients and facilities are unable to offer emergency hyperbaric services to other patients such as divers.
In a region already woefully short of adequate hyperbaric emergency services for divers, chambers from Mississippi to Northwest Florida are reportedly now filling up with Covid-19 patients fighting for their lives.
As reported earlier on this site, the closest decompression chambers to the popular Oriskany dive site and Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail are in Mobile, Alabama which is out of state—or in Fort Myers, more than 600 miles away.
In our 2018 news report, Julio Garcia, director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Program at Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama, stated that he has already long warned about the risk Panhandle divers face because they cannot receive timely treatment for decompression sickness, commonly known as the bends.
There's about 50 diving injuries reported on average every year in the Central Gulf Coast. "But If you came to me [now] in that kind of emergency, there's nowhere for me to put you," Garcia told Wear TV on Thursday.
"So you're looking at diverting someone from the Florida panhandle to Herman Hospital in Houston, Texas or as far north as Duke University in North Carolina. That is the current gap right now," stated Garcia according to Wear TV.