The current COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress on the HSE and health systems all over the world. Thousands of medical professionals and other frontline workers are working tirelessly to keep us safe is these difficult times.
Our objective in raising the awareness of Hyperbaric Oxygenation as a COVID-19 treatment is to improve the outcome for all COVID-19 patients in Ireland and reduce the number of deaths.
The first reports from China and Italy noted that COVID-19 caused hypoxemia and hypoxia in patients. Hyperbaric Oxygenation is already known to accelerate the reversal of these conditions. Medical case reports from China and the USA have shown significantly higher recovery rates and faster clinical improvement for serious and critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with HBOT, when compared to other treatments. The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) and other hyperbaric medical societies internationally have been active throughout the pandemic and their advice has been evolving as new data is published.
The UHMS in their ‘Rationale, Study Design Considerations and Protocol Recommendations for treating COVID-19 patients with Hyperbaric Oxygen‘ note that “The incidence of COVID-19 has increased dramatically, and this unfortunate abundance of patients has led to a significant understanding of what treatments are effective and which are not. Much of this evolution in treatment has been in the utilization of a known technology in a novel application. The UHMS has, therefore, reconsidered its position on the compassionate use of hyperbaric oxygen for COVID patients based on the strong mechanistic evidence and from the impressive results in the patients reported to date.”
The Irish Department of Health’s, ‘Ethical Framework for Decision Making in a Pandemic’ says that treatment “decisions should be based on the best available evidence at the time”.
Since May 2020, the HSE rejected the use of Hyperbaric Oxygenation for treating COVID-19 due to “insufficient high-quality data”. We encourage the HSE to reconsider their position, (as UHMS have) as more data has become available and give COVID-19 patients a potential treatment from the best globally available evidence at the time in accordance with Department of Health’s framework.
We believe, Galway University Hospital is in a unique position as it hosts the National Hyperbaric Medicine Unit and has the resources and facilities to provide emergency HBOT as a potential treatment for Covid-19.