Breathing Easier Now

The Air Force relocated its primary hyperbaric capability March 21 from Brooks City-Base, Tex., to the Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, Tex., both in San Antonio, and began hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the center just three days later. The shift was made as a result of BRAC 2005 which removed some functions from Brooks. “While the Air Force has other large chambers at Travis AFB, Calif., and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, the birthplace of hyperbaric medicine in the Air Force was in San Antonio,” said Col. Timothy Hursh, chief of Wilford Hall’s hyperbaric medicine division, in explaining the decision to relocate to Lackland. Wilford Hall has two new hyperbaric chambers. They are used to perform hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which supplies a surplus of oxygen to the body tissues, helping wounds heal and white blood cells fight infection. They are also used for aviators to deal with issues like decompression sickness. (San Antonio report by SrA. Erin Peterson)