By Nick Morrison
Of the three hyperbaric chambers in Scotland, Orkney is the busiest . This is mainly due to the recreational divers that come here.
The hyperbaric chamber treats victims of the bends. This painful and life-threatening condition is caused by coming up from the depths too quickly. Nitrogen bubbles come out into the joints and worse into the brain.
One condition which makes the Bends worse is dehydration . According to the doctor 3 pints and a nip is quite sufficient to cause dehydration . Hotel and B&B staff are asked to make sure diving guests drink lots of water in the morning . Not coffee since coffee is a diuretic . If you see a guest who is not quite with it either in the evening or in the morning encourage them to report in to the hyperbaric centre . Early treatment is more likely to be successful in a shorter time and less likely to have permanent long-term effects .
The hyperbaric centre is at the old Academy, Back Road Stromness .
Contact via the Balfour Hospital and the Coast Guard when if at sea.
Orkney Hyperbaric Unit
Old Academy Back Road, Stromness
Orkney KW16 3AW
Medical Director: Dr A Trevitt
Daytime Telephone: NHS Orkney 01856 888000
Emergency Telephone: Coastguard 999 or 0845 408 6008