HONG KONG - The first hyperbaric oxygen therapy service under the Hospital Authority will begin operating in March next year to speed up treatment of severe and chronic diseases, Hong Kong East Cluster (HKEC) of hospitals announced in its plan for the year.
Currently, there is only one hyperbaric oxygen chamber in Hong Kong at Ngong Shuen Chau, or Stonecutters Island, under the management of occupational health division of Labour Department. The equipment, which can treat four patients at one time, is also used to train Hong Kong Police Force and Fire Services Department staff.
Introducing the new chamber, Lau Chor-chiu, HKEC chief executive, said oxygen can be rapidly absorbed into the blood at high pressure. This occurs while the patient sits in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber which speeds up the healing process.
The chamber is designed to accelerate recovery of scars caused by electrotherapy, treat carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness and diabetic foot disease.
The new chamber can accommodate as many as three patients lying on beds or 15 seated patients at the same time. The service time will be eight hours a day initially, increased to 24 hours with development.
Since the existing chamber is in a remote location and not at a hospital, it has been difficult for patients to seek long-term treatment there. Transferring a patient, alone, involves accurate assessment and preparation of the patient, effective liaison between referring and receiving staff and appropriate deployment of trained personnel.
The new therapy chamber will be at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, easily accessible to those in need.
The HKEC also established a sterilization service center, improving disinfection efficiency by merging the current two sterilization centers into one.
The center will come into use later this year.