The last patient, a diver suffering from DCI, was treated at the Prince Henry site on the 15 January 1995 and the doors were then officially closed. Dismantling of the chamber components commenced on the 16th of January and it took several weeks for technicians John Kersbler and Barrie Gibbons to strip the chamber back to the bare shell.
In the weeks leading up to the move, the nursing staff, Sue Sheerin, Greg Melboune and John Newman, prepared to move the essential nursing items to the Navy’s chamber at HMAS Penguin, Balmoral.
Setting up the Navy’s chamber for “civilian’ treatments took three days and the Prince Henry staff commenced treating patients there on the 19th of January 1995.
HI Fraser, an engineering company from Mona Vale, had the contract to relocate the chamber to the Prince of Wales (POW) site. Once the building around the chamber was torn, down the chamber shell traveled on a low loader to Granville where it was grit blasted back to bare metal, crack tested and repainted.
The concrete slab for the new POW hyperbaric unit was poured and, just as it had 25 years before, the 20 ton chamber crawled through the city in the middle of the night to its new location at Randwick.
There were a minor hiccup when it was discovered that the footings were 100mm too low, which meant the chamber floor would be below the building floor level. With a little lifting, jacking, packing and swearing the error was corrected so that the floor levels were even, as had been intended, to alleviate the Prince Henry problem of a difficult ramp into the chamber.
The hyperbaric unit re-opened at Prince of Wales Hospital on the 11th of March 1996.
Today, going on 50 years after first opening at Prince Henry, the Hyperbaric Unit at Prince Of Wales Hospital continues to offer cutting edge therapies in state of the art facilities to thousands of patients annually.
Mrs Jennifer O'Connell 25th January 1995 - 2002 Mrs Jennifer o' Connell R.N. R.M.N. B.Ed. D.N.G. M.CN. (NSW) was appointed the…
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