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  • Title : Dongtan treats USAF pilot by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
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  • The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center of Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital received a letter of appreciation from the Osan Air Base of the U.S. Air Force on May 12. The center successfully treated a male pilot in his 30s of U-2, the high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft of USAF, who suffered from decompression symptoms.

    Dongtan hospital received an urgent call from the Osan Air Base of the USAF on April 29 that a pilot showed decompression symptoms and needed treatment. Decompression sickness which is also known as divers’ disease is caused when a large amount of nitrogen dissolved in the blood under high pressure is not properly discharged from the body after returning to normal atmospheric pressure.

    If decompression sickness is not treated immediately, the remained nitrogen in the blood turns into bubbles, and the bubbles block blood vessels and compress the surrounding tissues to cause inflammation. Initially, it causes pain, bleeding, and difficulty in breathing, and even leads to cerebral nerve disorders or lung damage when it gets worse.

    The medical staff of the center, along with the US military medical staff, treated decompression sickness by administering high-pressure oxygen to the pilot to release the bubbles in the blood.

    After the successful treatment, an officer and a military doctor of the Osan Air Base visited Dongtan hospital on May 12 to deliver a letter of appreciation. “The successful treatment this time has strengthened the cooperative medical system between USAF and Dongtan hospital. It also created a safe environment that made our pilots relieved and have confidence in their mission and training,” said the officer.

    The U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft is highly likely to experience decompression because it dives sharply after flying for seven to eight hours from up to 25 kilometers. Earlier, while searching for a nearby hospital capable of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for their pilots, the medical staff of USAF Osan Air Base found Dongtan hospital and visited on February 25 to take a first-hand look at the facilities.

    “I am glad to say that through the rapid treatment for the USAF pilot, we could show the highest quality medical care of Korea," said the director Soon-Joo Wang of the center. He added, "Since we opened the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center for the first time in Southern Gyeonggi-do last November, we have been treating patients who inhaled toxic gases from the fire, who tried to kill themselves using ignition coal, and who suffered from diabetes feet.”

    By Jonghun Im, Int’l Cooperation Team, HUMC (