IMPERATIVES: When “Certainty” in the VA Overrides Patient Health and Threatens Lives

**5th in a five-part series on the Implications of HBOT when used to heal brain wounds, prevent suicides, restore lives, and save Billions of dollars

It has been said that science advances one funeral at a time: old ideas and those who espouse them have to die off. The culture of science is self-protective and self-reinforcing. The history of advances in science is littered with rugged resistance to “radical” ideas. Yet, most people today accept that the earth is not flat; the sun and stars do not revolve around the earth; germs are real and penicillin works; in medicine, scientific truth is preferable to philosophical or religious dogma; and draining 40% of George Washington’s blood for a sore throat might not have been a wise medical choice.

Medicine is slow to change, conservative, culture-bound, and eagle-eyed about threats to paradigm-shifting changes. That is particularly true when dollars and rice bowls are involved. Everyone who has ever proposed a significant change in medical practice has a favorite story about how resistance from within the medical bureaucracy slows down progress. This is particularly true today with respect to “mental health” and “suicide prevention” and standards of care for such disease states as Concussion, PTSD, TBI, and post-concussive syndrome (PCS).

The following are offered as a way to dislodge the VA, DoD, the NFL, NHL, FIFA, International Rugby, the NCAA, high schools, and medicine in general from antiquated ideas about brain wounds.

Imperatives: Really Important Things We Must Do

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) top clinical priority is preventing suicide among all Veterans. Numerous other sports and medical institutions are similarly concerned about the toll taken by hits to the head. So here is some advice, rooted in some truths that will open up the diaologue and let brain-wounded get the insured help they need and deserve.

  • It is imperative that doctors and coaches and trainers and administrators and medicine in general start talking about “brain wounds” and a new standard-of-care for healing brain wounds. TBI/PTSD/Concussions — all are or can lead to brain wounds and potential deterioration in the brain and physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral, and spiritual capability.

  • Brain wounds need to be treated with wound healing principles: start with increases in energy and oxygen. Quit doing nothing and hoping symptoms will go away. And the reason “early exercise” may help in symptom reduction is delivery of more oxygen to the brain!

  • It is imperative that the VA change its negative position vis-a-vis Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy when used for TBI and PTSD. For over a decade, medicine has relied on studies conducted by the Army/DOD/VA which concluded, variously that: “HBOT does not work.” Science has advanced. The UHMS now knows and needs to tell the VA that their studies demonstrate what nearly two dozen peer-reviewed studies also demonstrate: the safety and efficacy of HBOT in treating brain wounds.

  • The VA must ensure that all suicidal Veterans are told about, and have insured access to, HBOT treatment. HBOT has been shown in clinical trials to reverse and nearly end/cure “suicidal ideation.” Over 21,000 successes in TreatNOW Coalition clinics attest to the healing power of HBOT.

  •  While they’re waking up to “new” science, theVA must ensure that all Veterans with Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFUs) are informed about “old, established” science: HBOT as an on-label, insured treatment for DFUs. HBOT can help avoid lower limb amputations (LLAs) in over 70% of cases. Tragically, 796,340 Veterans have died from Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) and Lower Limb Amputation (LLA) in the past 22-years, more than all the Veterans KIA in all the U.S. Wars (623,982) since the beginning of World War I. Approximately 94% were not offered HBOT treatments.

  • The VA must enhance their Clinical Practice Guidelines to make HBOT-for-TBI a standard of care for brain wounds. Current Guidelines do not take into account the UHMS redefinition of Hyperbaric Medicine; the VA is relying on outdated science. [For a good look a the new science, see here.]

  • It is imperative that research into Suicide Prevention include actually treating and healing brain wounds with HBOT. Fully treated patients get off almost all their drugs, particularly those the VA prescribes that WARN OF SUICIDAL IDEATION.

“First, do no harm” (Primum non Nocere)

The information provided by does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.

Heal Brains. Stop Suicides. Restore Lives. TreatNOW.