Upstate News

January 27, 2009
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

University Hospital expands, upgrades hyperbaric medicine treatment facility

In a move designed to create enhanced amenities for patients undergoing hyperbaric medical treatment, University Hospital has increased the size of its hospital-based hyperbaric facility from 300 to 1,800 square feet, and added patient consult and treatment and dressing rooms, a private patient bathroom and television service for patients while they undergo treatment.

The facility uses two hyperbaric chambers to deliver 100 percent pure oxygen throughout the body to promote healing.

“Hyperbaric medicine is such an important component to our clinical services that an upgrade was in order to maintain the most patient and family centered care setting possible,” said Wendy Merritt, R.N., clinical manager for Hyperbaric Services.

Conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include: carbon monoxide poisoning; decompression sickness; air or gas embolism; acute anaerobic infections; chronic non-healing wounds; skin grafts and flaps; severe crush injuries; exceptional blood loss anemia (when religious beliefs or an inability to cross-match blood make transfusion impractical); and late effect injuries from radiation therapy.

While other area hospitals may have hyperbaric medicine programs, University Hospital is the only facility that provides 24-hour critical care coverage between New York City and Buffalo. That designation has brought patients to University Hospital for hyperbaric medicine treatment from areas all across the state, including Albany, Potsdam, Binghamton, Buffalo, as well as Pennsylvania and Canada. University provides about 1,200 treatments annually.

The nearly $900,000 yearlong renovation also includes patient waiting room, staff offices and a medical records room.

University Hospital’s Hyperbaric Medicine program is accredited with distinction from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society in New York State as well as the first unit receiving this accreditation with distinction.

John McCabe, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, serves as director of Hyperbaric Services. McCabe recently completed the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine subspecialty examination and is now certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.

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