Woman Stuck in Gym's Hyperbaric Chamber Had Friend Call 911, Police Say

By Gustavo Solis and Aidan Gardiner  on July 9, 2014 2:43pm  | Updated on July 9, 2014 3:40pm

 A woman was briefly trapped inside a hyperbaric chamber at Pure Flow on 15th Street, police said.
A woman was briefly trapped inside a hyperbaric chamber at Pure Flow on 15th Street, police said.
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Composite with DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis and Facebook/pureflowfitness

CHELSEA — A woman getting oxygen therapy inside a hyperbaric chamber in a Chelsea spa Wednesday morning panicked when she couldn't summon staffers and instead texted a friend who called 911, police said.

The 63-year-old patient, whose name was not released by police, was lying inside health and fitness training center Pure Flow's hyperbaric chamber at 237 W. 15th St. shortly before 9 a.m. when she became claustrophobic and tried to reach the staff to let her out, police said.

When she couldn't get anyone's attention, she texted a friend and said she was stuck, police said.

That friend immediately called firefighters, who arrived at the scene at 9:25 a.m. only to find the woman had already been released, according to police and firefighters.

The woman refused medical attention at the scene, an FDNY spokesman said. Staff at Pure Flow declined to comment. Pure Flow's CEO Andrew Berile said he did not have further information about the incident.

The sealed chamber, which is touted on Pure Flow's website as a futuristic health and training procedure as a way to help athletes and others boost the amount of oxygen in their blood as well as boost energy and help circulation, is typically used for up to an hour, according to the site.

Pure Flow's Facebook page includes an image of an inflatable chamber called a Vitaeris 320, which is 93 inches long and sports five windows, according to the manufacturer's website.

Its use is supposed to help treatment of embolisms, carbon monoxide poisoning and "the bends" — a condition caused by divers surfacing too quickly, the Food and Drug Administration said.

However, Pure Flow's website warns that chamber users "may feel claustrophobia, fatigue, headaches during or after the treatment."

A client at the spa Wednesday who declined to give her name said the hyperbaric chambers were fitted with panic buttons as well as large windows and communication systems.

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