Moose Jaw hospital unveils new hyperbaric oxygen chamber

The new hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Moose Jaw's hospital. David Baxter/Global News

MOOSE JAW – The Five Hills Health Region once again can offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy after an outpouring of community support.

The brand new chamber and addition came to the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital thanks to a roughly $850,000 fundraising drive. The Moose Jaw Fire Department spearheaded much of the work and matched up to $50,000 in donations.

“If we’re careful with how we apply it we can certainly help the people of Saskatchewan get their treatments here, and help them with their chronic, slow-healing wounds,” Dr. George Miller, the hospital’s chief of surgery, said.

Miller said it’s not a “cure-all”, but can be beneficial for miners and divers suffering decompression sickness, cancer patients undergoing radiation and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Brent Evans owns an excavation company in Moose Jaw and suffered CO poisoning about five years ago. He underwent three oxygen treatments in a 24-hour span that helped save his life.

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Seeing the new chamber in the new hospital is something he said is “absolutely incredible”.

“The work of the community, especially the firefighters behind me here, this wouldn’t of happen without the firefighters. Their drive to get this done. They brought me on as a user of the hyperbaric chamber,” Evans said.

When lobbying the legislature last year for the new chamber Evans said he would do the excavation for free, and once the money was raised he stayed true to his word and dug the hole for the hospital addition pro-bono.

Miller added that there are currently two doctors trained to use the chamber at the hospital, and they are in the process of recruiting another.

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