The Decompression Tank
Series Cultural Heritage
The steel pressure tank that was made at the end of the fifties by employees of Shell Curaçao N.V. was used for twenty years by St. Elisabeth Hospital (Sehos). Dozens of divers with phenomena related to the decompression sickness, also called the Bends, were treated in it. But diabetic patients, too, and persons with burns benefited from the treatment in the decompression tank, in which pure oxygen was administered to them via a mask. This tank, which in the meantime has been declared unfit, is exhibited at the Curaçao Seaquarium. A more modern tank of the marines has taken over the tasks.
“The pressure tank was a gift by Shell to Doctor Kroon,” relates Edwin Lorenzo Valeriano, nurse at Sehos, who operated the tank for decades. “At first it was at the waterside, at Batipaña. It was the first decompression tank that Curaçao possessed. Prior to that, divers with the phenomena related to the decompression sickness had to descend into the water again.”