Many people have contacted us regarding the tragic incident that took place at the Ocean Hyperbaric Oxygen Neurological Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 1, 2009.
A woman was killed and her 4 year old grandson is left in critical condition Friday, when a hyperbaric chamber filled with 100% oxygen caught fire. The exact cause of the fire is unknown and is currently under investigation.
"I was shocked to hear the news this morning. This is a horrible tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to the family," said Ms. Shannon Kenitz, Director of the International Hyperbarics Association. The IHA is a non-profit association that focuses on education and funding for research relating to the use of hyperbaric therapy.
According to Ms. Kenitz, "IHA's mission is to promote safe hyperbaric use. We have consulted with the FDA and other regulators regarding the safe use of hyperbaric therapy and the dangers of treatment involving modified chambers at high pressures and high oxygen levels. It is unfortunate that it takes an incident like this to get the attention of those who are supposed to be regulating this industry. The Broward County Fire Department will surely need to re-examine the safety issues at the facility. The best way to avoid this kind of misfortune is knowledge and diligence of the laws regarding hyperbaric chambers."
"So many people, including my own daughter, have been helped through the use of hyperbaric treatments. We want people to know that there are many centers located throughout the country that follow strict safety protocols," continued Ms. Kenitz. "We want to educate people about how hyperbarics can help people who are struggling with health issues. We want them to feel safe when they seek treatment. That is why we are working directly with the FDA to encourage them to look closer into the types of chambers that put people unnecessarily at risk."
"Whether it is flooding chambers with 100% oxygen or encouraging people to modify their chamber to achieve an increase in pressure, we take a hard stance against these practices," stated Ms. Kenitz. "It is unsafe."
"Flooding a chamber with 100% oxygen just isn't necessary," stressed Kyle VanDyke, M.D., Medical Director of the Wisconsin Integrative Hyperbaric Center. "Many chambers use a hooded system that isolates oxygen and is much safer."
"If anyone has any concerns, they can always contact us at www.IHAUSA.org," Ms. Kenitz shared. "Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments saved my daughter's life. We don't want someone to miss out on an opportunity that can have such a great impact on their life."