Monday, September 25, 2017
Veterans and HBOT: Some Results

 

The American Legion Internet Observer, April 2011
A Final Chapter or Just The Beginning?
By Darrell Myers, Editor
 
As I started to write the next chapter on HBOT treatments and its effects on TBI, I realized that I really needed to finish the chapter I began back in November 2010. 
 
 
Department Adjutant Pat Smith and I sat in the conference room at department headquarters one afternoon as Eddy Gomez from the Rocky Mountain HBOT told us about this new treatment using a hyperbaric chamber, which was helping to ease PTSD and TBI problems for veterans. Interesting presentation, but in the end, we were not sold on anything. We actually felt that what we had just heard was nothing more than an old west snake oil sales pitch. You know the one, where the city slicker was hawking his product from atop his wagon, trying to get the townspeople to buy a bottle of “cure all” ointment that could cure everything known to man.
But we sure don’t think that anymore! We have seen the results, and how HBOT treatments can change a damaged human, someone barely functional, into a person who can return to society and be productive!
 
Photo was taken on November 23, as Fidel Granado was inside of the chamber getting his next to last hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment. Photo courtesy of Darrell Myers Department Photographer.
 
On November 8, 2010, we began our association with a HBOT patient named Fidel Granado. During our first interview with Fidel, which was published in the December 2010 issue of The Internet Observer, we realized that this treatment might be something revolutionary - a treatment that did not require a drug to be induced.
When we conducted our next interview with Fidel, after he had received 26 HBOT treatments, we noticed a real change in the man. Fidel was starting to communicate more naturally, without first having to pause and plan what he was going to say. 
It was during our second interview that Fidel said that he felt there was an improvement with his eye, and that he was not stuttering as much. And, the number of Fidel’s migraine headaches and their severity was decreasing.
At that time, Fidel was hoping that his vision problem would improve to a point that would allow him to return to structures welding. If his vision does not return, Fidel will have to be retrained into another field that will allow him to work and be self-sufficient. 
Fidel further stated that his “PTSD agitation during the treatments had gotten very severe”, and caused problems between Fidel and his girlfriend. But, as his doctor indicated, that problem began to subside after the first 20 treatments.
    The final face-to-face interview with Fidel took place on Friday, December 3, 2010. At that time, he had only one treatment left, and then he would be finished with the program. When we interviewed him in December, Fidel was not the same man we met back on November 8th. He was speaking like someone who had never had a brain injury. His migraines were down to two or three episodes a week; they are still painful but not like they were before. He was not stuttering and he was positive about where he wanted to go with his life. 
 
 
Photo was taken on November 23, as Fidel Granado climbing out of the chamber after getting his next to last hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment. In this chamber the patient sits up during the treatment. Photo courtesy of Darrell Myers Department Photographer
 
Fidel was finally rated with an 80% VA Disability; PTSD is not included with that rating and Fidel knows that he must appeal. He still has some problems communicating (due to his PTSD), but he is getting help at the Pueblo VA Medical Clinic, and he is scheduled to go to the VA Hospital in Denver to attend the in-resident PTSD program. During his last interview with us, Fidel’s attitude was greatly improved. He was happy and aware that he needed to improve his ability to interact with others and control his temper. Fidel told us that he wanted to go back to school and get his bachelors degree. He also wants to improve his ability to care for his son.
While waiting for Fidel, we had an opportunity to speak with Eddy Gomez about how this system works, and why they used the 1.5 ATA over the 2.0 ATA that the Navy is using in their program. Eddy told us that “being placed in a hyperbaric chamber, where the atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled using the 1.5 ATA Harch Protocol, and with the patient breathing 100% oxygen, a patient can have as much as 15 times as much oxygen delivered to his brain tissue than by breathing regular room air at normal atmospheric pressure, which enhances the body’s natural healing process.” Each treatment lasts one hour.
Eddy further stated that “ the 1.5 ATA pressure level that the Rocky Mountain HBOT Institute uses does not constrict the blood vessels as much as happens with the 2.0 ATA pressure settings that the Navy is using in a similar program. And, when you constrict the blood vessels, the amount of blood that can pass through them is decreased. If you decrease the blood flow, you decrease the oxygen that can be carried to the brain, and you lower the overall healing effect that can be derived during the same one-hour treatment.” Fidel should continue to improve with time, due to the increased oxygen that has been sent to his brain, which will help the damage to heal, as well as new capillaries that have developed in his brain to carry the oxygen.
Using telephone interviews with Fidel, along with cognitive testing, quality-of-life testing and neuropsychic testing, Fidel’s progress will be tracked to see if the treatments have, in fact, decreased his brain injury and PTSD symptoms, and increased his motor functions. Fidel’s healing process will continue after the end of the 40 treatments because of the ability for the vascular system to carry a greater supply of blood and oxygen to his brain.
In further testament to the success of the 40 HBOT treatments for Fidel, Ryan Fullmer CHT, Hyperbaric Therapist wrote on January 31, 2011, “When Mr. Granado arrived at the Institute, he appeared withdrawn, very closed in. He stuttered so badly it was hard to understand him. Yet, over the month he was in Boulder, both my staff and I were able to witness a transformation in him. As his treatments progressed he became more engaging and friendly. His stuttering began to improve, he also reported that his memory and mood was better and he appeared less depressed. It seemed that his balance got better overnight. His outlook became positive and he talked of his desire to not only become rehabilitated, but to help other veterans suffering from brain injuries. When he arrived he was wearing a brace on his leg due to a broken ankle. He was not able to put any weight on it and there was an open sore on his ankle. When he left he was able to walk unassisted and the sore had healed over. Mr. Granado went from a veteran who needed help in every aspect of his life to a sharp, employable, useful member of society. The last I heard he was going to return to school.”
Sergeant Dean Sanchez of the USMC Wounded Warrior Program had dealings with Fidel long before Fidel got into treatment.
Sergeant Sanchez wrote on December 23, 2010 that, “Granado has received his long overdue VA disability benefits, and is now somewhat self-reliant. After 40 treatments in the HBOT chamber, I am truly amazed every time I talk with Granado. He went from a very disabled 36-year old stroke victim back to the very outgoing aggressive Devil Dog almost overnight. Granado has taken some of his back pay and is moving from a studio apt to a two-bedroom trailer with a yard (for his son and the dog). We are going to start working towards getting him Vocational Rehab; so far he has shown interest in iron sculpting. (I am hoping to see some Military Themed Sculptures spring up throughout Colorado Springs). And, the driving force that helped get the funding to place Fidel into the HBOT program, and who also knew Fidel’s condition prior to treatment, Colonel Robert Fischer, USMC (Ret) wrote on February 17, 2011, “I am pleased to report that our latest Rocky Mountain HBOT wounded warrior has had a remarkable healing, not only the serious gash along his foot but his mental and physical faculties as well. What was formerly a confused and laborious speech pattern is now normal and easily understood speaking voice. Likewise his bearing, demeanor and self-confidence are a major change from the near homeless and disheveled former Marine we met almost one year ago. The hyperbaric oxygen treatment is near miraculous when we consider the before and after condition of this patient. His next interest is in the VA supported and approved vocational rehabilitation where he would like to pursue his former welding skills. Like Army NCO and TBI patient Margeau Vier who preceded him in HBOT treatment, Fidel must also be considered a true success story.”
The stories have just started. Our interviews are on-going. Questions are being asked and answers are being found and collected. But, the VA is not using this treatment, the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. They believe that it is not a viable treatment at this time and that more studies need to be generated.
The standards of medicine are being challenged! Our current treatment method for TBI and PTSD is to attack a behavioral problem, not repair the damage done by IEDs and combat. Current VA treatment is nothing more than to load drugs into the bodies of our suffering veterans, causing them to wander aimlessly through their lives, still afraid to leave the confines of their houses, and generating a whole new class of veterans who have lost confidence in the VA system and medicine in general.
That loss of confidence is something that connects Fidel Granado to Ian Newland and Shawn Lynch - the two newest HBOT treatment candidates who started receiving their treatments on March 9, 2011.
Are we, as veterans, being looked at as just numbers, statistics? Is Fidel Granado, and others like him, seen as a problem that has to be dealt with, or as people who have TBI, PTSD or other traumas that need to be treated with the best medicine available. Is the medical establishment doing everything? Are they looking at every available type of treatment with an open mind and seeing the results of treatments that are not main-stream, treatments that are not driven by the pharmaceutical industry - a treatment that might seem more like it would be sold by a snake oil salesman?

 

 

Copyright 2009 by NBIRR Clinical Trial - Fundraiser Privacy StatementTerms Of Use Xhtml 1.0 CSS 2.0