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WMC hyperbaric program cited

Hyperbaric Unit staff, from left, Zachary Badame, Monica Alfonzetti, Kausik Kar, Manny Orriola and Victoria Piliero.

The Hyperbaric Medicine program at Westchester Medical Center (WMC) in Valhalla has received “Accreditation with Distinction” from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society for its comprehensive hyperbaric oxygen therapy program.

There are about 1,300 hyperbaric facilities at hospitals in the U.S. and only 206 hyperbaric centers nationwide seek designation from the society. About 12 percent receive the “Accreditation with Distinction” designation. 

“Westchester Medical Center’s hyperbarics program has the highest-acuity patients in our region, some with complicated wounds that have failed treatment at other facilities and have persistent symptoms and others with effects of prior radiation, carbon monoxide poisoning, sudden vision loss and traumatic injuries,” said Kausik Kar, medical director of the Hyperbaric Unit at WMC.  

The therapy exposes the patient to high-pressure oxygen, which then helps the body’s own healing mechanisms. It first came into prominence as a way to treat deep-sea divers who were suffering from the bends, a condition caused when nitrogen bubbles form in the blood as a result of rapid decompression. It now is used to treat a variety of conditions, including stubborn wounds that will not heal on their own.

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