Unexpected Odyssey: From Merchant Sailor to Hyperbaric Physician



Eric P. Kindwall, MD

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Entertaining the reader and preserving some exciting bits of the history of hyperbaric medicine are the driving forces behind Eric-P-Kindwall-memorial-coverthis fascinating autobiography by Eric Kindwall, MD. From merchant sailor to hyperbaric physician, this narrative contains personal struggles, ambitions, and dreams. A vivid memoir of time in the merchant marine, Yale and Harvard, the CIA, submarine school, and a Polaris nuclear submarine, these hair raising tales treat the reader to a very unexpected odyssey.

(Hardcover: 431 pages; Book Number M1072; ISBN 1-930536-09-7)

About the Author

Eric P. Kindwall, M.D., is regarded by many as the "Father of Hyperbaric Medicine". Kindwall began diving in 1950 and later Eric-Kindwall-Navy wdeveloped an interest in diving physiology while majoring in zoology at the University of Wisconsin. He is a 1960 graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, where his M.D. thesis was entitled “Some Observations on Decompression Sickness”. After leaving Yale, he did postgraduate research at the Laboratory of Aviation and Naval Medicine, Department of Physiology, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. On returning to the United States, he entered a rotating internship at the University of Virginia and completed a residency at Harvard.

During the Vietnam War, Dr. Kindwall served in nuclear submarines and became Assistant Director of the U.S. Navy School of Submarine Medicine, where he was Senior Officer in Charge of the Diving Medicine Program. After leaving the Navy in 1969, Dr. Kindwall was chief of the Department of Hyperbaric Medicine at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee for twenty years. In 1989 he accepted a fulltime combined appointment on the faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He served as Director of Hyperbaric Medicine for the medical school until being granted Emeritus status in 1998, to devote his time to teaching and consulting.

A past president of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), Dr. Kindwall founded Pressure, the UHMS newsletter, and was founding chairman of the UHMS Committee on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. He is former chairman of the Kindwall PicCommission on Underwater Physiology and Medicine for the International Union of Physiological Sciences. He retired as a commander from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1995. Over 90 publications and book chapters in the fields of diving, clinical hyperbaric medicine, and compressed air construction work are attributed to him. In addition, he consulted internationally for commercial diving companies, tunnel construction companies, foreign navies, and hospitals acquiring clinical hyperbaric facilities.

From 2004 until his death in January, 2012 Dr. Kindwall served as the Medical Director of Hyperbaric Wound Care Associates and the Executive Director of The American College of Hyperbaric Medicine.

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