CAF and CalvinAirHeli evacuating Old Road fisherman with decompression sickness

St. John’s, Antigua: Monday, March 06, 2023: A 53-year-old, Old Road fisherman is currently undergoing hyperbaric treatment for decompression sickness at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (University Hospital Center) in Guadeloupe, after being medically evacuated to the neighbouring island by CalvinAir Helicopters.

According to the patient’s wife, Skeeter, her husband Clive Pelle, returned from “sea” last Tuesday evening, complaining of pains and numbness in his left shoulder. When the symptoms – which typically include fatigue, joint and muscle aches, or pain, clouded thinking and numbness – began affecting his hands and legs, they sought medical attention at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center. Doctors there diagnosed him with decompression sickness, commonly known as “the bends.”

Decompression sickness results from inadequate reduction in air pressure, following exposure to increased pressure. When nitrogen bubbles enter the nervous system, serious complications can occur. If the symptoms go untreated, paralysis or even death are possible. To prevent decompression sickness, most divers make a safety stop for a few minutes before ascending to the surface to ensure that the body has time to adjust to the change in pressure.

Knowing that the sooner the treatment of an injury begins, the better the chance for a full recovery, Dr. Benjamin Bridge reached out to the Calvin Ayre Foundation’s Jamilla Kirwan, on Thursday, March 02nd requesting the urgent evacuation to neighbouring Guadeloupe for treatment. CalvinAir Helicopters was mobilized in quick time and made the life-saving half-hour flight to Guadeloupe that afternoon.

According to Clive’s son, Richie Pelle, the family was unsure of how his father’s travel and treatment would have been facilitated and expressed thanks to the Calvin Ayre Foundation for its assistance in their time of need.

“To be honest, when we heard about what happened to him (Clive), we didn’t know how any of this was going to get done. I just want to say thank you to the Calvin Ayre Foundation for really coming through for us.”

Dr. Bridge also expressed his gratitude for the prompt response of the Foundation to fund the medical airlift in such quick time. “This was a serious situation where someone needed the hyperbaric chamber. We contacted them (CAF) on Thursday morning and within hours they were able to help.”

An update from Dr. Bridge on Monday stated that Clive was able to walk a little on his own but has a few more days of treatment before he can return home. Ayre Group’s Media Relations Specialist, Jamilla Kirwan wishes to extend best wishes and speedy recovery on behalf of Ambassador Calvin Ayre, the Calvin Ayre Foundation, CalvinAir Helicopters, and the Ayre Group of companies.