Tommy Hunter stands at the entrance to one of the center’s hyperbaric chambers. While the chamber is in use, the door Hunter is leaning through would be sealed to allow the chamber to be pressurized to multiple atmospheres. | Austin Nelson
Tommy Hunter stands at the entrance to one of the center’s hyperbaric chambers. While the chamber is in use, the door Hunter is leaning through would be sealed to allow the chamber to be pressurized to multiple atmospheres. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Wound Care Center at RMC now features a certified hyperbaric technologist

Published 10:56am Monday, August 12, 2013

Inside an office on the fringe perimeter of the Russell Medical Center campus there are two large, clear tubes that look like something out of a science fiction film.
They are the Wound Care Center at RMC’s two hyperbaric chambers. It takes a skilled technician to turn these space-age looking chambers into a healing tool – and Tommy Hunter, who works as a paramedic for the Alexander City Fire Department in addition to his job at the Wound Care Center has put in the work to learn the ins and outs of hyperbaric therapy.
Hunter recently took his training a step further, completing a month -long process to become a certified hyperbaric technologist.
As Hunter explained, a lot of training and hours have gone into securing this certification.
“I had to complete a 40-hour training course to become a hyperbaric oxygen technician,” Hunter said.
During this training, he learned the basics of operating the chamber and indications for its use in Jacksonville, Fla., where he was able to train at a commercial dive academy.
This was only the first step of a long journey. Hunter was then required to log 480 hours operating the chamber, 40 of which were done under the supervision of Dr. Gordon Robinson.
While he wasn’t logging hours on the chamber, Hunter spent his free time studying for the CFT exam.
“I was studying as much as I could – usually about four or five hours a day,” Hunter said.
The CFT exam requires technicians to commit to memory all the various indications for the chamber and verses them in the specifics of each line of treatment. It also teaches them how to correctly perform transcutaneous oximetry monitoring, which checks oxygen levels in the extremities using electrodes – which is used to see if oxygen is reaching the problem wound or area.
Karen Treadwell, program director at the Wound Care Center at RMC, said this advanced level of training benefits the whole center.
“Our team has really rallied behind Tommy,” Treadwell said. “He has brought back what he learned and shared it with out team. The number of patients we see here has increased because of Hunter’s skill level.”

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