Hyperbaric Chamber Network

Any diver who has studied the treatment of diving injuries knows the role hyperbaric chambers play in them. As an organization that assists injured divers, DAN frequently consults on the care, transport and hyperbaric treatment of those divers, but we do not provide chamber location information. This is an effort to get divers with a suspected decompression illness (DCI) into hospital care.

Divers often drive past legitimate healthcare facilities in an effort to get to a recompression chamber. Even when divers surface with clear symptoms of an arterial gas embolism, the treatment of choice is the local emergency medical service (EMS) and hospital. Your best option is to use existing emergency services for an injured diver.

The reasons:
  • Hospitals and urgent care facilities have an unlimited supply of oxygen, intravenous fluids and medications.
  • A physician/emergency care provider needs to rule out other illness such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung), myocardial infarction (heart attack) and neurological and musculoskeletal injuries that have symptoms similar to DCI.
  • An injured patient needs to be stabilized before and during transport and should be transferred under medical supervision.
  • Transporting a diver without a proper evaluation may adversely affect the diver's health and treatment outcome.
  • A chamber's operational status can change.
  • Chambers may close for scheduled maintenance, staff vacation or a limited staff because of a high daytime patient treatment load.
  • The chamber you are driving to may not be available.
  • Prior notification from an evaluating facility is usually necessary to begin the call-in procedure to staff a hyperbaric treatment.
  • Most hyperbaric facilities have regular daytime business hours and are not staffed in the evenings and on weekends. In fact, some chamber facilities choose not to staff their unit after hours and do not wish to treat divers.
  • Most divers with possible cases of decompression illness report to facilities for evaluation after normal business hours.
  • If you suspect a diver has a dive-related injury and needs evaluation, you should safely do the following:
  • Monitor airway, breathing and circulation. Provide 100 percent oxygen if you are a trained oxygen provider.
  • Call the local EMS for transport or assist in the transport of the injured diver to the closest medical care.
  • Call the 24-hour DAN Emergency Hotline at +1-919-684-9111 for consultation (emergencies may call collect).

  • If you are uncertain about symptoms that occur hours or days after diving and there is no emergency, or if you wish to ask questions about medical issues or diving injuries, contact the DAN Medical Information Line at +1-919-684-2948, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    Apply to become part of DAN's chamber facility referral network.