Advance Ventilator Dependent Diving
This was a monumental achievement given his ongoing battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The project has reached millions of people around the world thanks to a piece featured on NBC's Today Show.
In the ten years since, Matt has spent considerable time thinking about the challenges he faced, and plans to make innovative advancements that will allow others to dive while ventilator dependent, and even simply make in-water activities more accessible for those with tracheostomies.
Funds raised through this campaign will allow Matt and his team to achieve the following:
1. Return to the History of Diving Museum to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first ventilator dependent dives. The Museum is hosting an event on June 3rd to honor Matt's achievements. The team will also announce research underway to continue this project, as follows;
2. Design and develop a more robust vent limb circuit. Vent circuits (hoses/valves from the ventilator to the tracheostomy) today are consumable medical supplies, and not designed to withstand rigorous outdoor activity. We will prototype a robust purpose-built limb circuit that can withstand higher levels of physical activity.
3. Create a more cost effective means to keep the tracheostomy dry. The concern of drowning and infection is very real for those with a trach, and keeps many people away from in-water therapy. Matt's previous success was dependent on an expensive full body diver's drysuit which allowed passage of his vent hoses through the suit and to the trach. We will begin experiments with a dry 'shirt' that will be more readily available and affordable for others.
4. Conduct a detailed risk assessment for submerging a ventilator. Matt's dives left the vent at the surface, restricting his depth to only a few feet. There are many challenges and potential risks associated with using a ventilator under pressure. These will be carefully evalauted with the intent of publishing a technical paper on this subject. This technology and capability has other real-world applications, such as ventilator augmented breathing for ultra-deep saturation diving, and even augmented breathing assistance in dense atmospheres on other planets.
This is ambitious, will Matthew Johnston succeed?
Matt is among those unique people that has the remarkable ability to attract help when help is needed. Among his accomplishments include:
1. world's first ventiltor dependent diver, and among the first to dive with near full paralysis
2. earned first diver certification 'SDI Scubility #001' after writing a technical manual that mitigated risks of his early dives
3. awarded Beneath the Sea's prestigious 'Diver of the Year' award in 2013.
4. featured on NBC's TODAY Show
5. featured exhibit at History of Diving Museum
Matt has established an expansive network within the diving and respiratory care communities, and has the direct knowledge to open new doors in this field.
It still sounds ambitious - does he have any help?
Matt's long-time partner, Michael Lombardi, manages Ocean Opportunity Inc. , the Diving a Dream project's not-for-profit fiscal sponsor. Michael Co-Chairs the Marine Technology Society's Diving Committee. In recent years, Michael's work in diving technology and ocean exploration has earned support from the National Geographic Society and others. Michael will take on the technical management of this project to oversee design engineering, fabrication, and technical writing. Michael is a prolific technical writer in the field and has an excellent publication track record .
How can you help?
All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law, and will contribute to making the inaccessible more accessible. The field of adaptive diving technology is a niche realm and progress will only be made with a jumpstart from the community.
This research initiative will be announced at the History of Diving Museum onJune 3rd, 2017, where Matt will be visting to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his historic ocean dives.
Matt has given us all tremendous hope and inspiration for more than a decade. This is your chance to say thanks, and provide an opportunity to take a next step.
Stay tuned as we organize a couple of fundraising and awareness building events throughout the spring!
Every penny counts...please help us reach the goal for this project!
Thanks to our student engineer Adam Piispanen from the University of Rhode Island, we have completed renderings and schematics for the improved and robust ventilator circuit that will be better suited for in-water activity.
This design work was supported in-kind by Lombardi Undersea LLC, and allows us to reduce our target budget!
Your continued support will help us inch ever closer to making the aquatic world accessible to those who have long considered it inaccessible!
There was no blueprint for Matt Johnston's pioneering first ventilator dependent dives. Together with Scuba Diving International, his team developed a program that earned Matt Scubility certification #001 which opened up doors to pool, equipment, boat, and ocean access.
Your contribution will allow access to be improved yet again - taking steps towards safer in-water experiences for those with a tracehostomy and dependence on a ventilator.
Did you know?
Vent limb circuits are consumable medical supplies and not 'built tough' for rigorous outdoor activity. Your donations will help us prototype more robust components to provide more confidence in undertaking physical activity while on a ventilator.