HISTORY The Hyperbaric Facility in Ecuador's Galapagos archipielago is operated by Proteccion Subacuatica del Ecuador, SA (Protesub), and is located
in the town of Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayora is the largest town in the Galapagos
(pop. 20,000), and is a central 'crossroads' to all of the islands, making it the logical
center for diving and medical emergencies.
Protesub opened its doors to the diving community of Galapagos
in July, 2001. It started its operations with nominal dive
operator support, and now it is gaining more acceptance through
awareness and education. To date, the Unit has treated over 80 recreational dive injuries requiring recompression, which could have resulted in death or permanent paralysis
if the chamber did not exist. These include tourists, dive masters
of the various dive operators. In addition, no less than 200 indigent local artisan diving-fishermen have used the hyperbaric chamber, receiving treatment on a mere cost recovery, or often on a pro bono basis. This charitable activity is performed as a public service to the community that hosts SSS/ Galapagos.
With the cooperation of the dive operators and the efforts
of worldwide SSS Recompression Network, Protesub S.A. has been
improving its standard of service to the dive community of
Galapagos. It is more than a medical center specialized in Subaquatic
and Hyperbaric Medicine.
The Hyperbaric Medical Center offers also
a wound care service for other recognized Hyperbaric Oxygen
Therapy indications as burns, gas gangrene, CO intoxication,
diabetic wounds, contaminated wounds, osteomyelitis, etc. We have
treated dozens of patients over the past nine years with excellent
If you are visiting Galapagos and would like
to tour our facility, you are welcome! Chamber tours are free,
but we do ask that you contact us during normal business hours
by phone to arrange an appropriate time to ensure patient treatments
are not being conducted.
The Hyperbaric Medical Center also plays an
important role in education for the local diving community
offering the following courses:
the general public: Courses in BLS (Basic Life Support), PADI
Emergency First Response, DAN Oxygen Provider, DAN poisonous
marine life management, and in the use of automated cardiac
For the Galapagos Marine Reserve National
Park Service: Our staff has offered courses addressed to the
local dive guides, about the physiology of diving and decompression
theory, as well as in the use of oxygen equipment and BLS.
For fishermen and diving crew of local operators:
We have given courses for recognition and management of diving
accidents, use of oxygen equipment and BLS.
Protesub also co-sponsored three (3) intensive
research projects with the University of Trondheim (Norway),
and DAN Research Department (USA). These programs were explicitly
aimed to measure diving risks in fishermen and train them on
how to reduce dive injury incidence.
The SSS Network / Galapagos Facility is an
International Divers Alert Network (IDAN) Referral Center and
is a member of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS). DAN:www.diversalertnetwork.org UHMS:www.uhms.org
maintain our hyperbaric clinic on a 24 Hour Emergency Basis, but also with regularly
scheduled hours. Our staff includes Physicians, Emergency
Medical Technicians (EMT's), Chamber Operators, and Patient
Attendants. All are trained by accredited international associations
in hyperbaric medicine.
The Clinic has the latest technology and operates under
rigorous international regulations and safety standards.
The medical and technical personnel has been trained in Europe
(France and Spain), USA, and Mexico. The staff keeps up-to-date
with Continued Medical Education seminars all around the
world. The Chamber Facility is part of the international
SSS Network, a global hyperbaric medicine provider, and is
operated by Protesub, S.A. of Ecuador.
The SSS Network /
Galapagos Hyperbaric Center uses a Multiplace Recompression
Chamber which is equipped to accommodate up to two patients at a time,
plus a Patient Tender (attending nurse). Patients must be accompanied by
a Patient Tender during any/all recompression treatments.
The Hyperbaric Center besides its hyperbaric
service, offers medical consultations in internal medicine,
gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, osteopathy and emergency
With the assistance and support of a large
number of dive operators in Galapagos, and through the
SSS Network ACCESS PROGRAM, we work to provide the safest
possible treatment in the case of a diving accident.
These Dive Operators have made a strong commitment to
diving safety in the Galapagos Islands. If you plan
on visiting Galapagos please visit their web sites and
learn a bit more about them.
The Dive Operators are listed below in alphabetical order. (N.A. means to web link available at this publishing date).