Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber helps wound healing at Gritman Medical Center

MOSCOW, ID - Gritman Medical Center's newest modality is called a "Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber" and it has already helped many patients recover from their wounds.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin gives us a peek inside Gritman's Would Healing Center to show us what kind of technology they're using to treat people on the Palouse.

"This is going to be the new, hip thing," said Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Technician Keith Rector. "Everyone's going to want to do it just because it's, I don't know, it's super easy. It's easy to use."

Gritman Medical Center recently started treating wounds with oxygen.

"The person goes inside, the gurney slides in on some rails," said Rector.

This modality is called a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber.

"It pressurizes the person to greater than one atmosphere," said Rector. "We're at one atmosphere right now, at all times. So it can go to two, or two and a half, or even three atmospheres."

Keith Rector is Gritman's Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Technician, and he said it's all about pumping the body full of oxygen to fight off illness.

"You breathe it in through your lungs, and it gets carried through your red blood cells and plasma," said Rector. "And carries it throughout your body and actually helps create new cells and blood vessels."

Rector says it's not a painful procedure, but patients may feel pressure in their ears, similar to being on an airplane.

"Other than that, just sit back and relax," said Rector. "There's even a TV mounted."

This type of technology has been around since the 1800's, but this is the first chamber to be installed on the Palouse. It can help with things like chronic wounds... bone and tissue damage, and even prevent amputations.

"Every day, about four people a day right now," said Rector.

Gritman's CEO Kara Besst said it's the hospital's way of responding to feedback from the community.

"There has been a tremendous need," said Besst. "We have a lot of patients coming through here, very pleased with the service we're offering. And the expectations of the visits is higher than we were anticipating."

Gritman might get another one of these chambers in the near future because the treatment is gaining popularity. Clarkston's Tri-State Memorial Hospital also offers Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy.