Prisma Health business partner National Baromedical Services is celebrating 35 years of uninterrupted provision of 24/7 hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy at Prisma’s Richland campus. Since 1985, NBS has furnished comprehensive administrative and clinical management for every Federal Drug Administration approved use on behalf of every patient state. This most comprehensive level of hyperbaric practice, commonplace in the USA until the late 1990s, has become increasingly rare. (read why in the article below). Sadly, less than 100 of 1,300 hospital affiliated hyperbaric programs remain committed to inpatient and emergency care. With huge swaths of the country, including several major population centers, lacking access to immediate HBO when considered imperative, patients bear the adverse consequences of no HBO or medical transfer of increasing distances. As the only consistent 24/7 facility in South Carolina and the only one capable of managing the most complex of clinical conditions, Prisma Health Richland Hospital’s hyperbaric program receives transfers and referrals from throughout South Carolina, from Charlotte and elsewhere within North Carolina, and Georgia, including distant Atlanta. The program serves as a critical on-call resource for the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Department of Natural Resources dive teams. Shaw Air Force Base and the McEntire Air National Guard rely on Richland’s hyperbaric medicine program for immediate management of their pilots, other aircrew members and altitude physiologists who experience decompression accidents. On one occasion, the program successfully treated a Special Forces member who suffered altitude-induced decompression sickness.
Clinical and educational expertise
The entire NBS nursing team, under the leadership of Lindsie Cone, MD, UHM, FUHM, have long been certified in hyperbaric technology. As such, they are equally adept at managing critically ill patients dependent on mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, IV fluids and other meds, as they are ambulatory outpatients. This collective knowledge and experience has been parlayed into an internationally recognized expert educational faculty. Over 8,000 health care professionals have visited Richland Hospital from every continent to benefit from their unique insight and skill.
Enhanced monoplace chamber capabilities
The NBS team has pioneered several advances that serve to ensure even the sickest of patients can be safely and effectively treated within the monoplace hyperbaric chamber. They include adaption of various devices to ensure that those unable to manipulate a face mask, have a tracheostomy or being mechanically ventilated, are afforded the additional safety of intermittent air breathing. This has allowed aggressive therapeutic dosing previously limited to multiplace chamber practice. More than 7,000 patients have undergone over 200,000 hyperbaric treatments with unparalleled safety and clinical effectiveness. Many have benefitted from tissue oximetry screening algorithms developed by NBS in the late 1980s that allow more appropriate wound patient selection and case management. They have further benefited from pioneering research conducted by NBS and its international consortium that introduced the first clear evidence that HBO was indeed therapeutic for deficient wound healing.
Upon this firm foundation, the NBS-Prisma Health Richland Hospital collaboration continues serve as a clinical, research and educational center of excellence.