New hyperbaric chamber named in honour of retired nurse

A woman stands beside a hyperbaric chamber that features the name 'Helen' across the front of the chamber
Clinical Nurse Helen Jefferies stands next to the new hyperbaric chamber named in her honour
November 20, 2020

Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) has unveiled its new hyperbaric chamber with historic naming rights going to retired Clinical Nurse, Helen Jefferies.

Working in the Hyperbaric Unit at both Fremantle and Fiona Stanley Hospitals, Helen retired in April this year after 30 years with the team.

“I was completely gobsmacked when they revealed the name of the chamber – it was a very emotional moment,” Helen said.

“It was an absolute joy to work in the hyperbaric unit at both hospitals and I loved coming to work every single day with such a supportive team who were like family.”

“Having the chamber named after me is such a privilege, especially as it will be here for at least the next 20 years – what a special retirement gift!”

FSH Director of Hyperbaric Medicine Dr Neil Banham said the new monoplace chamber, which is 104 centimetres in diameter, is bigger than the previous chamber.

“The much larger chamber will mean less claustrophobia for patients and an increased ability to treat bariatric patients,” Neil said.

“The Hyperbaric Unit has two monoplace chambers which are used for 30 patient treatments every week.”

“While hyperbaric medicine is more commonly known for treating decompression sickness, or ‘the bends’, the chambers are more regularly used to heal wounds associated with diabetes and radiotherapy used to treat cancer.”

The new chamber replaces the previous chamber, named Sebastian after the first patient who received treatment, after completing its 20 year service life.

Sebastian has been sent back to its former home at Fremantle Hospital where it now resides in the museum.

The only other hospital in Australia to have the same size chamber is the Royal Hobart Hospital.

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