At the very heart of Sharm el Sheikh, there is an unsung hero.
Quietly hidden away just past the Old Market area (aka Souq, in Arabic) is a small building where many life-altering events happen and an extremely inspiring team reside – The Hyperbaric Chamber, Sharm el Sheikh.
Dr Adel Taher and Dr Ahmed Sakr – both keen scuba divers themselves – are the resident doctors at Sharm el Sheikh’s hyperbaric chamber which opened and was fully operational over 25 years ago on the morning of 10th March 1993.
Many people are not even aware of the Chamber’s existence unless they need to make use of the facilities.
We all know that diving is a relatively safe activity as long as we play by the rules and we all hope we will never need to pay a visit to this location. However, on the off chance that something does happen whilst diving, it is reassuring to know that you will be in one of the best places in the world to be treated.
This is proved by the vast experience provided by the sheer number of cases that have been successfully treated, with over 1,700 people of different nationalities walking out of the doors after they entered with potentially life threatening injuries. In addition to the local incidents that have occurred, the Doctors also coordinate and assist with remote area medical evacuation in the Red Sea and provide medical consultation and referral to patients all over the globe.
It is not that diving in Sharm el Sheikh is particularly dangerous for scuba diving: it is all a numbers’ game. When you take the number of divers that have visited and continue to visit Sharm el Sheikh, it is inevitable to expect that some of them are bound to need the Chamber’s service.
In addition to standard activities, Dr Ahmed and Dr Adel have implemented several pioneering treatments, which have been developed by the fantastic Team at Sharm’s hyperbaric facility.
“The chamber” as its friends fondly know it, also takes the time to educate those that want to learn. It offers internships for young doctors from all over the world, in addition to training keen members of Sharm’s dive industry and turning them into chamber tenders and operators.
At Camel Dive Club, we are proud to say that many instructors past and present have taken these courses, which they found to be informative, fun and a life changing experience. Many have subsequently volunteered at the chamber to gain more knowledge in the hyperbaric field.
Now, diving hyperbaric treatments do not come cheap with the minimum cost being Euro 750 per hour (due to the high costs of transporting the required gases in Egypt and routinely replacing the chamber components before they deteriorate) and with an average treatment taking 8 hours 45 minutes, you had better have some good dive insurance. This being said, the chamber has never refused anyone treatment due to lack of insurance or funds; this is very humbling.
They rely strongly on donations to survive, especially after the quieter years that have been experienced recently. A good way to help is at the end of your diving holiday at Camel Dive Club, you will be asked if you would like to make a one Euro per diving day donation to the chamber; please say yes and make it more if you are able.
The chamber is also a place that Camel Dive Club recommends you visit if you have a “yes” on your diving medical form. With the charge being only Euro 35.00 for a fit to dive medical and the doctors being more knowledgeable than your average non-diving GP, it will give you peace of mind to continue your diving adventures safely.
Being on call 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, the doctors are always friendly, professional and courteous; with kind advice for residents and holidaymakers alike.
Please join me in thanking and congratulating “The Chamber” on its 25th Anniversary and for its many years of service to all, divers and non-divers alike. We wish you many more.
In honour of this amazing milestone, there will be a 4-day celebration planned for November 2018. These days will include: lectures on technical and recreational diving by world renowned experts aimed at diving professionals, an open house during which you can receive a guided tour of the hyperbaric chamber, a Divers Alert Network (DAN) day (which will aim to provide information about the latest research in diving medicine) and of course some diving!
If you wish to make a donation or you are interested in their anniversary events in November, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Interested in diving in Sharm el Sheikh? Take a look at www.cameldive.com and book your trip!