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From the 2024 2nd Quarter Pressure


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van der VaartTheodorus Aloysius Marie "Dick" van der Vaart

The passing of colleague and founder of the Recompression Chamber Bonaire 

Dr. van der Vaart is remembered dearly by the many people he has touched.  He was one of the busiest GPs on the island, from when there were only a few. He was an active musician, playing the drums in many bands through the years.  He may be known best for setting up and maintaining the Recompression Facility on Bonaire.  Almost 40 years ago, he saw the need and arranged the donation and delivery of the first recompression chamber.  This not only saved and improved countless lives but was part of the basis that elevated Bonaire to be one of the top dive destinations. You are not likely to find anyone from the island that does not know him or at least of him. He passed away on Monday night.

He developed a small but strong team that manned the chamber both inside and out.  Much of the staff has worked with him for decades, demonstrating his ability to create and maintain a strong team.  In the early days, when there were only a few GPs on the island, he would often be juggling emergencies, running next door to deliver a baby or set a broken limb while the diver was tended to inside the chamber.  To put the time frame into perspective, not only was this before cell phones, most people did not even have home phones, so he had to send the police to find the staff in the middle of the night.

The chamber began for the divers; however, shortly thereafter, Dr. van der Vaart saw the possibilities of healing wounds that would otherwise never heal. He successfully saved innumerable limbs from amputation.  He has treated patients for almost each of the various approved ailments that can be treated in the chamber.  Not only did he need to train doctors and nurses to work at the chamber, but it was also a big challenge to train the doctors, not involved in the chamber, about what types of things can be done, so that they refer the patients that can be helped.  To some, this big tube looks like witch doctoring and takes some convincing, but the results spoke for themselves.

With careful management, he was able to upgrade the facility with a new chamber and building, bringing us to have a state-of-the-art facility, considered one of the best in the Caribbean. After his colleague was taken by COVID, he was on call 24/7/365 for all the COVID shutdown and more.  Only for his passion for the chamber and the patients was he able manage the chamber from its inception to, and past his retirement from his GP position where he played a huge role in the health of the island population.

In 2022, the King was pleased to appoint him Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau.

It is with unending respect and regret that we as Board and Team of the Recompression Chamber bid him farewell and send our heartfelt condolences and support to his family and friends.

~ Board and Team of the Recompression Chamber Bonaire



We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Ron Sechrist, our beloved founder, who left us yesterday evening. Ron established Sechrist Industries in 1973, and his visionary leadership has propelled us to the forefront of the hyperbaric industry. Last year, we were fortunate to celebrate our company’s 50th Anniversary with Ron. His presence at the event reminded us of the enduring passion and commitment that serve as the building blocks of our success. Deepak Talati, our President, said, "Ron was not only a brilliant engineer but also one of America’s leading entrepreneurs. His contributions have been fundamental to our identity and innovation culture. He will forever remain an inspiration to our Sechrist family." Our thoughts are with Ron’s family during this difficult time, especially his wife and children, who were his world. Ron’s legacy will forever be a guiding light for Sechrist Industries. Let us honor his memory by continuing to innovate and excel in the field he so passionately helped shape.

~ Sechrist Industries, Inc

 hickeyCAPT. Matthew Hickey, MD

Captain Matthew John, Medical Corps, USN (Ret.), died peacefully surrounded by his family on April 2, 2024, following a fierce battle with pancreatic cancer that he fought with unwavering courage. He was 59. Raised in Bay Shore, NY, Matt was the son of Edward and Eileen Hickey. He graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1982, reported to the Naval Academy the same year and was assigned to the 36th Company, serving as a company commander his first-class year. He graduated in 1986 with a BS in Ocean Engineering, was commissioned an ensign, and received orders to BUD/S (SEAL) training (Coronado). Following BUD/S graduation in Class 141, Matt spent the following 8 years as a Naval Special Warfare Officer, serving tours at SEAL Team ONE (Coronado), SEAL Team EIGHT (Virginia Beach) and the Naval Academy. He deployed in support of Operations EARNEST WILL (1988), SHARP EDGE (1990) and DESERT SHIELD (1990). While stationed at the Academy, he assisted 17 midshipmen in successfully executing Operation MISSING MASCOT, the only known "mule-napping" of all four Army mules just prior to the 1991 Army-Navy football game. He met the former Cynthia (Cindy) L. Armistead of Virginia Beach in 1989 and was married in November of 1992. In 1995, Matt transitioned to the Medical Corps. He graduated from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (1999), completed internship at Cook County Hospital (2000) and residency at University of Illinois at Chicago (2003). He received initial board certification in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2004 and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine in 2005. As a Navy physician, he served tours at Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR (Norfolk), the US-UK Personnel Exchange Program (Alverstoke, England), the Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Naval Special Warfare Development Group (Virginia Beach), and Commander Submarine Force Atlantic (Norfolk). Upon Navy retirement in June of 2017, Matt continued his service to the country as an occupational medicine specialist at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Concurrently, he became a co-owner of a medical practice - Neuroenhancement & Cognitive Optimization Associates (NEUCOA), to help veterans with TBI and PTSD. He volunteered his free time as an active parishioner at Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Norfolk), as an Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine exam developer for the American Board of Preventive Medicine, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Navy SEAL Foundation. His greatest joy was spending time with Cindy and their daughters. Matt is survived by his wife, Cindy; their daughters, Kate, Anne, Claire and Emma; his parents, Edward and Eileen; his siblings, Edward/Ed Jr, William/Bill (Margaret), and Susan Masto (Chris); and 16 nephews and nieces. A celebration of life will be held at the Brigade of Midshipmen Chapel at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the following charities:

Navy SEAL Foundation 

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (specify pancreatic cancer) 

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Published by Newsday on Apr. 5, 2024.


DaVanzo Joan headshotJoan DaVanzo

Dear UHMS Members,

As all of you know, the field of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine has avoided more than one potentially devastating payment reduction proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) based on flawed Medicare data. We have survived these threats so far through the efforts of many people, but perhaps the most important person in the recent battle with CMS was Joan DaVanzo of Dobson/DaVanzo. Joan was personally known to only a handful of UHMS members, but without her help, we might not have been able to stave off a 40% reduction in hospital facility fees beginning in January of 2024. 

The UHMS is a member of the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders, and Alliance Executive Director, Marcia Nusgart provided this tribute to Joan who died of breast cancer on Feb 25th

Caroline E. Fife, MD

Dear Alliance members,

It is with great sadness that I share news of the passing of Joan DaVanzo, a long-time friend and passionate supporter of the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders. Joan passed away on Sunday, February 25th after a difficult battle with cancer and its complications over the past year. Many of you have been aware of her passing and asked me how best to honor her. Information about which charities one could contribute to were just named so I waited until now to send all of this information out. 

A health policy expert, Joan founded Dobson | DaVanzo with her husband, Al Dobson. Through their health policy consultancy, Joan and Al were a driving force behind the Alliance’s Wound Care Evidence Summit (2022)  and our two respected and widely quoted wound care research study papers on the economic impact and burden of chronic wounds:  “An Economic Evaluation of the Impact, Cost, and Medicare Policy Implications of Chronic Nonhealing Wounds,” (Value in Health, 2018) and “Chronic wound prevalence and the associated cost of treatment in Medicare beneficiaries: changes between 2014 and 2019” (Journal of Medical Economics, 2023). She had great insight, creativity and vision as well as enthusiasm on issues that the Alliance tackled. I attached two pictures of Joan at our Alliance Evidence Summit.

Most recently, Joan was active in the wound care community’s response when CMS unexpectedly, and without explanation - implemented a 40% reduction to the payment rate for hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the 2024 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule that published in November. Joan and her team analyzed outpatient claims using CMS methodology and concluded that the cost estimate provided with the HOPPS rule was an error, providing the Alliance and other advocates with an independent economic analysis to submit to CMS to request a technical correction. Strengthened by this analysis, our advocacy was successful, and CMS corrected and re-issued the HBOT payment rate.

But most importantly, Joan was a good friend—she was always giving, kind, gracious, fun and a great cook who loved to entertain. I came to know her years ago through our mutual involvement in Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation ( a premier network of over 1,400 female senior executives across the health care and life sciences industry where we both served on the board and she as a mentor to so many, including myself.

Joan will be so dearly missed. Her husband Al Dobson advised me that he will be holding a celebration of her life in mid-May- if anyone is interested in attending he asked that you contact Whitney Webster from his staff-

There are two ways to donate in Joan’s memory if you desire. A Joan DaVanzo memorial fund has been established at American Wild Horse Campaign in her honor. Donations can be made to American Wild Horse Campaign, PO Box 1733, Davis, CA 95617. Donations in her memory also can be made to the WBL Boundless Campaign – that supports women lead start-up health care companies and the WBL Fellows program. Her obituary appeared in the 3/17/24 Washington Post


Marcia Nusgart, R.Ph.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders
5225 Pooks Hill Road Suite 627 South
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
tel 301.530.7846  |  cell. 301.802.1410
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