Team's specialist treatment saved my life
DIABETES patient Jean Horsham said oxygen therapy saved her life.
The 64 year old, of Elburton, was on the verge of having her right foot amputated before being referred to the Diving Diseases Research Centre.
She had developed a dangerous heel ulcer after suffering a heart attack and undergoing major surgery in 2005.
Jean also had problems with wounds on both legs, where veins had been removed for the quadruple bypass, which stayed open due to diabetes-related healing problems.
After 12 months of infections, hospital admissions and daily home visits from district nurses, a GP referred her for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Jean, who has battled Type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years, said loss of the treatment would be "terrible" for patients.
"I will be grateful every day to the doctor who sent me there," she said.
"It saved my life. I honestly think I wouldn't have survived an amputation. Diabetics have notoriously poor circulation, I know a lot of people who have ended up losing their feet.
"I now have a quality of life that I didn't think at the time I would ever get back."
Jean spent three months visiting the DDRC in Tamar Science Park five days a week.
Each time she spent around two hours with other patients on a 'dive'.
"They'd take you to a certain pressure and we'd sit there in the chamber for around 45 minutes breathing the oxygen," she said. "I had a very good group of people who would laugh and joke together. You see people in there recovering from cancer, various different things, and you realise you're not alone."
Jean's husband Steve has become a member of fundraising team Friends of DDRC.
Steve, aged 65, a retired police dog handler, said: "The place is wonderful and the treatment is a life saver. It would be small minded to withdraw funding. If my wife had lost her foot, or part of it, it would have cost the NHS more for all the care she needed.
"We can live again. Beforehand we thought it was hopeless."