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Two divers have been treated for decompression sickness after getting into difficulties off Lochaline on Friday.
On Friday night at 7pm, a diver was flown to Aberdeen for treatment in the hyperbaric
chamber at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after suffering decompression sickness at Lochaline.
Normally divers suffering from decompression sickness on the west coast of Scotland are treated at Tritonia Scientific’s Oban recompression chamber.
However, on this occasion, the Oban chamber had just started treating another diver, who had also been diving at Lochaline. That treatment had just started when the second emergency call was received.
Recompression therapy can take between five and eight hours to complete so there would have been a considerable delay before the next diver could have been treated. Because of this, the decision was taken to transfer the second diver to Aberdeen by helicopter.
Dr Martin Sayer, managing director of the Oban centre, explained: ‘Scotland is unique in operating a national co-ordinated service for the emergency recompression of divers.
‘There are three NHS-registered hyperbaric chambers in Scotland – Oban, Orkney and Aberdeen – and they work together, managing where divers are taken to and how they are best treated.
In this case, because the Oban chamber was already occupied, it made sense to transfer the second diver to Aberdeen.
‘It has been busy for diver emergencies on the west coast this year and this is the second time a diver has been transferred to Aberdeen because the Oban chamber was full.
‘Transfers do also occur in the opposite direction and divers have been diverted to Oban previously because the Aberdeen unit was busy.’
Tritonia Scientific’s Recompression Chamber at Dunstaffnage Marina.
NO-T47 Business Tritonia Scientific’s Recompression Chamber