We have accumulated dozens of testimonials and hundreds of success stories like these. All are backed by scientifically-derived data. Nearly a hundred of the stories of successful use of HBOT for brain injury are backed by brain scans — before and after — objective evidence of the functional and physiologic improvement in the brains of TBI-injured service members.
These testimonials are available upon request. All are “evidence” of the safety and efficacy of the use of HBOT for brain injuries. All fall within the scope of “evidence-based-medicine” as defined by the National Institutes of Health and the Brain Trauma Foundation.
Al Burghard (LTC, USMC, ret.)
Ben Richards (MAJ, USA, ret.)
Dr. Eddie Zant, MD, HBOT Clinician
Force Recon Testimonial
Judge Patt Maney (BG, USAR, ret)
Linda Cope, mother of Wounded Warrior
Matt Smotherman, CAPT, USAR
Michael R. Rodriguez, SFC (R)
Miguel A. Bermudez-Gonzalez, former U.S. Navy Electrician’s Mate First Class, Sub qualified.
Robin Read. former Pres, Natl Assc of Women Legislators
The Need and the Successes: Testimonials
The following letter by Dr. Eddie Zant was written to give insight into his continuing use of HBOT to treat and heal SOF warriors and others. Dr. Zant is part of the TreatNOW.org Coalition.
From Eddie Zant, MD, March 17, 2012
As a Physician I would like to share my experience in evaluating and treating concussions (mild Traumatic Brain Injury- mTBI) in military and civilian patients over the last 3 years. In this article concussion and mTBI refer to identical injuries. This is a very pertinent discussion at this time due to the recent unfortunate shooting incident in Afghanistan by a US Military soldier diagnosed with TBI (traumatic brain injury), The Rand Corporation estimates there are over 350,000 US military men and women suffering from concussions symptoms (mTBI) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from blast incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these wounded warriors are still trying to cope with their injured brain disabilities. Many are being redeployed after the diagnosis of TBI is made. They have not been able to return to a normal and productive lifestyle. In the civilian population concussions occur in more than 6 per 1,000 people each year. Common causes of civilian concussion are falls or blows to the head, motor vehicular accidents, bike accidents, sport injuries, or exposure to loud noises (explosion, etc). Most concussions (80-90%) resolve in a short period (7-10 days).
I was an active duty US Army physician from 1969 to 1971 and very familiar with military medicine. All of our recently treated concussed patients were months, some years, post concussion and still experiencing severe post concussion symptoms. One of my patients was a US Army Brig General concussed in Afghanistan by an IED explosion. His resulting concussion symptoms and cognitive impairment issues lasted for months before successful treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
In the past 3 years I have treated over 25 concussed (TBI) military patients for lingering concussion symptoms. I have been using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat these patients. None of these patients had life threatening head injuries. All had normal CT Scans/MRI’s. Symptoms in these patients included cognitive impairment, loss of memory, headaches, depression, fatigue, anger and irritability, sleep disturbances, loss of multitasking and executive functions, and hypervigilance. All patients had successful results from HBOT therapy and either returned to full military duty, continued in school, or returned to full civilian employment.
The Department of Defense has developed criteria for the diagnosis of mTBI (Concussions) which must include one of the following:
- Any period of loss of or decreased level of consciousness lasting less then 30 minutes
- Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury lasting less than 24 hours after the event
- Any alteration in mental state at the time of the injury such as confusion, disorientation, or slowed thinking lasting less than 24 hours
- Transient neurological deficits (e.g. Weakness, loss of balance, change in vision, praxis, paresis or plegia, sensory loss, aphasia and
- Normal intracranial imaging.
All of our patients were previously treated by different agencies with medication only which gave them little or no relief in their disabling concussion symptoms. Our patients received a total of over 1400 HBOT treatments without any complications or adverse reactions. Patients were all treated in a rigid hyperbaric oxygen chamber at 1.5 ATA (17ft) on 100% oxygen for 60 minutes. The hyperbaric/mTBI protocol calls for a minimum of 40 treatments with up to 80 treatments if necessary. Treatment plans and the need for additional HBOT treatments are based upon the clearing of concussion symptoms and improvement in Neuropsychological (neurocognitive) (NP) testing.
Neurocognitive testing is used to evaluate the concussed patient’s post injury neurocognitive condition and track improvements made with HBOT therapy. Neurocognitive testing is an assessment tool that can be used to identify changes in a patient’s cognitive function and mood state as a result of some debilitating event. Neurocognitive testing has become the most important modality in management and determination of a full recovery in concussed patients. The military NP test used was the ANAM (Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics) test.
The ANAM was developed by the military to evaluate and follow the progress of TBI patients. A baseline NP test is performed before deployment with repeat testing following concussion injuries. During HBOT therapy the ANAM test is administered after each 20 HBOT treatments to document the progress and improvement in the injured brain. A different NP test is given to our civilian patients. All NP testing in done on an office computer and takes about 25 minutes. Report printouts are available immediately. These reports along with examination and discussions with the patient and family are used to determine if HBOT is indicated or needs to be continued.
There is controversy concerning the use of HBOT in the treatment of concussed patients. The majority of military mTBI patients are currently being treated primarily with prescription medications for their symptoms. Many of our military patients commented they were in a constant “brain fog” as a result of all the meds they were prescribed. They received sleeping pills if sleep was an issue, pain medication for headaches, antidepressant for depression, tranquilizers for anxiety and so forth. None of these medications treated the cause of TBI/PTSD which is the injured brain.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy through research and clinical use has demonstrated to be effective in repairing the injured brain. The current research is based upon both animal and human studies. There is a multitude of currently published medical literature demonstrating the benefit of HBOT in the treatment and repairing of injured brains.
Some of the criticisms in the use of HBOT treating concussions from different agencies are based upon the fact HBOT is not currently approved by the FDA in the specific treatment of mTBI. Many clinical studies are underway at this time studying the effectiveness of HBOT in the treatment of TBI/PTSD. The FDA will not approve procedures that are still in the clinical study mode. We as hyperbaric physicians have treated successfully hundreds of TBI/PTSD military personnel all with no adverse effects. HBOT is approved by the FDA to treat four types of brain injuries. These brain injuries include carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness (Bends), arterial gas embolism to the brain, and acute blindness from central retinal artery occlusion. We as Physicians are allowed to use treatment modalities not FDA approved as long as, first, we do no harm to the patient and there is benefit in the treatment. We as a group of Physicians believe it is a mistake to currently deny these thousands of brain injured military personnel treatments which have shown to be completely effective in treating successfully and permanently mTBI and PTSD. Most of us treating hyperbaric physicians have not been paid at all by the military or the VA for our services to these injured men and women. I believe I speak for the group that we perform this service because we know it works, we respect the military and what it stands for, and that our injured men and women deserve the most effective currently available treatment for their injuries after putting their life on the line for our country.
Dr. Paul Harch MD gave testimony to the US House of Representatives last year pointing out that nearly all the medication being prescribed by Military Medicine and the Veterans Administration are being used “OFF-LABEL” as the standard of care for blast induced TBI and PTSD despite little or no research to support this prescribing. An estimated 120 combat Veterans per week or more than 10,000 overall have committed suicide according to the CDC numbers investigated by CBS News. The House Veteran Affairs Committee was told earlier that many of the suicides were related to the use of the FDA Black-Box drugs being use off-label. These drugs carry specific warnings about increased suicide rates.
Our first mTBI military patients were treated with HBOT in 2009. The two Airmen were in an armored semi-truck when they were involved in an IED explosion in Iraq. Neither man lost consciousness but they were dazed and somewhat confused initially. The both experienced the immediate onset of headaches. They were seen at an aid station later in the day, given acetaminophen, and returned to duty. Over a period of weeks these men began to experience debilitating concussive symptoms of severe headaches, memory loss, cognitive issues, anger/irritability issues and severe sleep disturbances. Upon returning to the US they were referred to our facility for HBOT by Col.(Dr) James Wright USAF Special Operations Command Surgeon and Board Certified Hyperbaric Physician.
Fortunately both men were given screening neuropsychological tests (ANAM) before they deployed to Iraq. We were able to compare there post injury tests with the baseline NP tests. Post injury testing revealed both men to be severely cognitively impaired from their concussions. Both men receive a series of HBOT treatments with NP testing after each 20 treatments. At the end of their hbot treatments both men were completely free of all previous mTBI symptoms. Both airmen returned to their pre injury NP baseline scores after HBOT treatments. One man required 40 treatments and the other 80 HBOT treatments to return to their baseline NP scores. The Airmen are still on active duty. I recently spoke with both men and they are doing well without any concussion signs or symptoms. Col. Wright and I published a case report of these men in a major peer reviewed medical journal.
There is a lot of attention currently in the press and on the internet regarding our TBI wounded men and women. There is an ongoing study NBIRR (national brain injury rescue rehabilitation) sanctioned by the Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) using HBOT in concussed patients. There are 12 hyperbaric centers in the USA involved with this study. This study is an unfunded study and all treating facilities are providing the HBOT treatments to our injury veterans on their “nickel”. This study can be accessed by searching www.nbirr.org on the Internet and clicking on the “clinicaltrials.gov” box.
Dr. Paul Harch, Dr. James Wright, Dr. Bill Duncan, Dr. Rob Beckman and former Secretary of the Army Martin Hoffmann are currently playing key roles pro bono in an attempt to obtain funding for HBOT treatments for our wounded warriors. These men are meeting regularly with Top Military officials and members of Congress in this attempt. The Navy League ( www.navyleague.org ) recently released a video on the use of HBOT treating TBI in military men and women. At the end of the video both the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps acknowledge at a congressional hearing their support for the use of HBOT in treating their TBI injured personnel.
Links to all publications, videos, references and military patient’s HBOT testimonials referred to in this article can be viewed at our website, www.flhbot.com . I believe there may be a lot of response to this article. Some will be good, some may be critical. The VA and military do offer a variety of other treatment modalities to our wounded TBI troops. We believe the data and experience generated by the thousand of HBOT treatments used to successfully treat mTBI/PTSD warrants the acceptance by governmental agencies this method of treatment in our TBI/PTSD wounded men and women.
Dr. Albert E. Zant MD (Eddie Zant MD)
Force Recon Marine
“The wife of a Force Recon Marine called in tears back in March. Friends had told her about HBOT and she had an idea that we could help her husband with hyperbarics. Her husband who has lost 5 teammates to suicide in the last 6 months; the best of the best unable to cope with the pain. She worried that he was going to be #6. 7 tours, 7 concussions. He and I talked that day. His CMDR, a Mustang, wanted to save both his career and his life; whatever it takes. I knew there were chambers on-base, so I had him contact the Drs there. They confessed they were constrained by orders from the SG that they not be used for TBI. So we got him scheduled to Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute for one month. Twice-a-day dives. One month. All pro bono. After 40 dives and back home on the job, he reported astounding success: he’s gone from 30% capability [his gauge] to 85%+ capability [psychometric testing]. He can stay in, take the assignment as instructor. His emailed report just last week: He talked about his unit being “hollowed out”, so many being carried on the books, but undeployable, like him.
“I have been serving in the Military for 15 years and have received several head injuries. the first 2 were received in Fallujah during 2004-05. Before the military even started to conduct studies on head trauma. In a vehicle patrol I hit a road side IED and was knocked unconscious the second one happened a short 2 days later when on another patrol, while I was still suffering for symptoms of my the previous IED. For the following 13 years I received 3 more major injuries were from breaching operations during Special Missions in Iraq, to being “danger close” to dropping ordinance. My last severe concussion was during training when I was in a pretty severe Jet ski accident. That is when my symptoms got to the point of effecting my personal life. I was in and out of the ER and Doctors’ Offices for 4 years and they all said and did the same thing. “Head Aches are really hard to diagnose, Here try these pills.” At one point I was on 6 different med’s. and filling like I was going to lose my Job in the military. I had to stop taking the med’s that had been prescribed to me just so I could function in a somewhat normal manner, and just deal with the pain of 3to 6 day migraines. At the worst point I would suffer from a migraine for 6 days have a sort break with a less severe head ache and then the migraines would come back and was severely suicidal. Thanks to HBOT I have been without symptoms for 4 week now my ability to multi task has improved. My cognitive ability and taught process and increased and my mood is 100 percent. I am no longer “the Anger Gunny.”
Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute
Julie Stapleton, M.D.
2300 Central Ave Ste B, Boulder CO 80301, tel. 303.442.4124
Eddie Gomez, Director, CHT
U.S. Army Reserves Brig. Gen. Patt Maney
Most people appreciate their days by counting their birthdays, their wedding days, their children’s birthdays and weddings and their grandchildren’s birthdays.
A few of us count our “Alive Day”.
Mine is August 21, 2005. The place was a dirt road near a river in Paghman, Afghanistan.
When the red and black cleared and the debris finished falling from the sky from the IED explosion, I was alive. I was grateful. I had a “new normal”. I’m told I experienced the second IED in Afghanistan directed against the NATO Coalition.
I had enjoyed some modest success and private as well as public accomplishment. Now, I was ambulatory but was light sensitive. I had lost short term memory, reasoning, word finding, reading comprehension, problem solving. I had headaches. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t solve simple arithmetic and was confounded by the use of common technology like changing the time on a watch or operating a self-service gas pump. My penmanship had changed. I was overwhelmed by information like reading a menu. I couldn’t sleep. I had all of my “pieces and parts” albeit some did not work as originally intended. I was told by a physician that the “tincture of time” was the only way to address the “traumatic brain injury” or “closed cranial injury” or “post concussion syndrome” or “cognitive difficulties not otherwise specified” that I suffered. I was offered pharmaceuticals (some off label) to manage some symptoms. My wife made my appointments and led me to them and carried on the discussions which I didn’t remember. I did know there was a time limit on how much time I had to recover before the Army would review my ability to continue to serve.
As a wounded reservist, I was faced with the loss of both my military career and my civilian career and a formal process that seemed to assume all wounded warriors were able to negotiate the bureaucracy unassisted. A physician friend where I live, DR Eddie Zant, suggested hyperbaric oxygen, and two courageous Army physicians got the care approved. I was scheduled for forty hours of one-hour treatments with Hyperbaric Oxygen at one and a half atmospheres (HBOT 1.5): the TBI protocol developed by DR Paul Harch. After seven or eight treatments, my wife thought she noticed some improvement but she didn’t say anything as she was afraid she wanted to see improvement too much. After 12-14 “dives”, I thought I noticed an improvement but I didn’t want to say anything as I didn’t want to raise my wife’s hopes. Through the efforts of a medical resident, I also built upon the HBOT recovery and benefited from cognitive rehabilitation at Bethesda. At 20-22 dives, people who knew me before the blast and after the blast started commenting that I seemed better and more engaged. After 40 dives, I took a 30 day break and then resumed HBOT 1.5 for the 40 additional recommended sessions.
While I was not able to stay in the Army, I was able through the treatment, accompanying therapies and my own fear of failure to go back to my civilian job. While I am not exactly the same person I was before the blast injury, I am substantially as capable and at ease as I was before. I can continue a life of rewarding service, perhaps more deeply motivated because of the gift I was given.
In connection with both my civilian job and personal life, I continue to come across active duty personnel and veterans who appear to have TBI. I’ve been able to encourage some several to investigate hyperbaric oxygen and every single one treated has shown improvement.
Because HBOT 1.5 is cumulative, I can’t say a date my cognition improved, but I can say HBOT 1.5 allowed me to return to work and resume a more normal and optimistic life. I strongly believe HBOT 1.5 should be made available to all TBI-wounded warriors within DOD and the VA. My family and I have experienced the benefits of the treatments. I experienced the frustration of disability and as a layman, I believe making HBOT 1.5 available will not only improve the quality of lives of our TBI wounded and their families but will also save money that would have been required for lifetime care and pharmaceutical expenses. I believe treatment will very likely reduce the suicide rate. One can’t discount the effect on improving morale because treatment is offered and improved readiness at reduced cost by avoiding some percent of medical discharges and training replacements. As a civilian, I have seen the cost to my community and its families of the wrecked lives of the military TBI Casualty.
We can do better for these volunteers, these heroes. We must do better.
DOD and VA can be the leaders in not just identifying TBI but in TREATING it. We must keep faith with America’s battle wounded. We can save money by avoiding a lifetime of pharmaceutical expense and restore productivity to lives, while improving their quality of life. I believe it is possible to AVOID the Agent Orange redux that could mask the realities of TBI.
Please encourage DOD, the VA and Congress to make HBOT 1.5 available for others to live the kind of restored life that has been returned to me.
Erica Cope: HBOT Testimony from Wife of a Disabled Army Veteran
Living with someone who had a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, let alone being married to this person, has been an unbearable experience. My husband, an Army sergeant, lost both legs above the knees and severely disabled his right hand in November 2006 in Baghdad when his humvee went over an IED. I thought these were the worse injuries; however, I found out that the mental wounds were far worse than the physical ones. I tried everything I could to make my husband happy and healthy yet there was nothing I could do until his brain was healed. He wasn’t sleeping through the night, which meant I wasn’t sleeping through the night, which meant when the kids woke us both up at 7:00 a.m., the whole house was on edge. I would try to discuss things with my husband, but most of the time he just didn’t have the capacity to be rational. He would also make irrational decisions such as inviting troubled veterans to live in our house, without asking me, or considering the effects they would have on our children. He became anti-social even avoiding his own family. He would rather ignore a problem than find a solution. He was always restless, wanting to go different places, and would have a new, often unproductive, hobby every day. And he would blow up over the most insignificant situations. Something had to be done but I didn’t know what. Medications only made my husband less himself.
Then we heard about the Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments (HBOT) and Dr. Zant offered his services free of charge, a lucky break for us. Before starting treatments, my husband was tested on his cognitive skills, and his scores came out poorly, which didn’t surprise me. He began treatments and we both saw his mental improvements. By the end of the first round of treatments, his mentality had greatly changed and he was much more relaxed and satisfied with life in general. His test scores attested to his improvements, with most categories of his cognitive functioning moving up. Since his test scores still had some room for improvement, he did an extra set of 40 treatments and just finished them in Oct 2011. He took a mid-point test and every area except one was in the normal or above normal range. Now we are finally able to work on our struggling marriage in a rational way, something we didn’t even have a chance to do with his wounded mentality. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Zant , who provided these services; however, I am disappointed that so many of our veteran friends need this same treatment and are unable to receive it while their whole worlds are falling apart. I don’t understand why more isn’t being done to get all mentally wounded veterans this incredible healing treatment. I firmly believe that suicides and divorce rates among disabled veterans will go down once HBOT treatments are freely offered to these heroes.
CAPT MAtt Smotherman
August 26, 2013
Dear Mr. President,
Today you awarded Ty Carter the Medal of Honor today and spoke of post traumatic syndrome. He is a true hero and your words reflected that with dignity. Thank you. I humbly bring to your attention another soldier, my son, Captain Matthew Smothermon. You met him in the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornados.
During his time in Afghanistan, Matthew experienced direct IED hits. Imagine your son’s 8000 lb. vehicle tossed in the air, mangled, and torn apart. Imagine your son inside. Three separate times. Matt was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Not surprisingly, Matt suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury. He could not sleep, could not concentrate, could not comprehend words on a page, could not problem solve, had anger issues, suffered depression, and experienced debilitating headaches. Simply put, he was no longer able to function.
At drill one weekend, he was offered the opportunity to participate in a program using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for soldiers suffering from TBI. One hour treatments, five days a week. After just 20 treatments, the results were amazing. Sleep, concentration, problem solving, attitude, and intelligence improved. A few months later, he completed all HBOT treatments. Matt was then able to lead and guide all the National Guard troops in the tornado clean-up, later assumed Company Commander position, and recently received a promotion to Captain.
Currently finishing his law degree, he is encouraging government officials to make HBOT available to all soldiers suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury because he is living proof that it works. His life has been completely transformed from one of little hope to one of hope and a future. He is a son, husband, and soldier committed to helping others have the same opportunity for a meaningful, fulfilling life.
Mr. President, please take a few moments to view this video. At about the halfway point, Matthew begins speaking. Zoe is a doctor and shares her personal insights as his wife.
I echo my son’s desire to provide this life restoring treatment to our soldiers who, like Ty Carter, have given so much for the freedoms we treasure. Please consider doing whatever you can as leader of our nation to provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment to our soldiers and restore their lives. Sincerely, Diane Smothermon, Mother of a Recovered Veteran
My name is Captain Matthew Smothermon, a broken soldier now repaired. This is my story:
Prior to my deployment to Afghanistan, I was a high-functioning individual. I had earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa, completed two years of law school, and was moving along smoothly in my military career as an officer. However, in the summer of 2011, rather than graduating from law school and beginning my life as a new attorney, I was instead flying into Afghanistan as part of the largest deployment of the 45th Infantry Brigade since the Korean War. As a platoon leader in the Brigade’s sole Route Clearance asset, I was tasked with leading daily combat patrols throughout the Laghman Province. Our mission was simple: seek out and eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Our mission of Route Clearance is widely considered one of the most dangerous missions in Afghanistan. It consists of brave (and somewhat crazed) men traveling through the most dangerous areas ahead of everyone else in order to find and destroy IEDs, thus clearing the way for successful operations. While we found dozens of IEDs, some of them found us first. In my case, my vehicle was struck by three very large IEDs all in the span of about a month. Miraculously, I walked away from each, though I was hospitalized and ultimately taken off the front lines as a result of my injuries. While I suffered multiple back injuries including ruptured and herniated discs, spinal nerve impingement, and degenerative disc disease, perhaps the most debilitating side-effect of the blasts was my traumatic brain injury (TBI).
In the immediate aftermath, I could barely concentrate enough to read a piece of paper, could hardly sleep through the night, and . It was terrible. The best way I can describe the experience is that one day, I woke up but my brain didn’t. From then on nothing felt quite right. And while there was a natural recovery period for my TBI as my brain adapted to its newfound roadblocks and failures, the recovery process eventually plateaued. I would have spurts of normality punctuated by severe lapses in cognition. This became my new normal: everything I would do required at least twice as much mental exertion in order to deliver results which were, at best, less than what I had once been capable of; my ability to multi-task was almost completely gone; my train of thought would be consistently lost mid-sentence; I was perpetually exhausted, yet unable to sleep; I was mentally broken and emotionally numb.
It was enough to get by for the remainder of the deployment, but upon returning home, the permanence of my brain injury began to take root. Spinal injuries, with their constant pain, were a terrible nuisance, but they could never affect my identity. The brain injury, however, affected everything I did to the point that it changed who I was. My hopes and dreams were dashed as I realized that I could never become an attorney; I could barely read for more than ten minutes at a time, much less manage a law school curriculum and the rigors of the legal field. I eventually gave up on returning to law school after finding myself incapable of composing the single-page letter required for my readmission after several months of trying. My emotional numbness strained my personal relationships and my marriage. My inability to focus in the midst of distractions had rendered social outings mostly untenable. Moreover, the recognition of my newfound deficiency had me questioning whether I was fit to serve in the military, much less lead soldiers as an officer. With no further recovery taking place, the full reality of my TBI had come to light, and I began a slow spiral into depression. I was a shadow of my former self.
In October of 2012, I learned of a medical research study being conducted by Dr. Paul Rock of Oklahoma State University. The study, which employed the Harch Protocol of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), sought to explore the possibility of whether HBOT could have a healing effect on brain injuries such as mine. With a healthy dose of skepticism but nothing to lose, I volunteered to participate as a test subject. The resulting transformation I experienced was shocking, powerful, and complete. Within two weeks of beginning daily one-hour sessions, it felt as though someone had reached into my head and begun flipping the circuit breakers. Suddenly, I found myself sleeping through the night. Within twenty sessions, the static gears of my mental machinery began spinning back to life, and I suddenly found myself multi-tasking, managing complex thought processes, and even being able to effectively relate on an emotional level to my family, my friends, and my wife. By the time I had undergone 40 sessions, what had once been a dense mental fog had given way to clarity for the first time in well over a year; not only could I think clearly again, but I returned to law school. By the time I had completed the full 80 sessions of HBOT treatment, not only had I returned to full capacity as a soldier and leader, but I had taken over as the company commander of my deploying unit. Moreover, I was able to effectively serve as the officer in charge of our battalion’s ground operations during the tornado disaster relief mission in Moore, Oklahoma. Since then, there has been no looking back.
Today, I can safely say that I have recovered from the traumatic brain injury which fundamentally changed my life in the summer of 2011. Of course, I have seen the data from my cognitive test results, and I know this to be true. But nothing comes close to seeing your wife, a full year after you have returned from war, look at you with tears in her eyes and tell you, “It’s good to have you back.” The entirety of this transformative experience is one that mere words can hardly convey. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has restored me as a person, as a husband, as a soldier, and as a leader. I simply would not be where I am now but by the grace of God’s providence and the effectiveness of this medical treatment.
Matt Smotherman / John Bennett
Oklahoma HBOT law passed
Major Ben Richards, (USA, ret.)
“I was very fortunate to get the very best care that was available in the US Army. … The Army determined that I was medically unfit…. There was not an expectation that I would ever be employed again… fully disabled… I couldn’t hold a job….the official line was that I wouldn’t improve….the goal was to find a new normal….no improvement ….I have been through, as far as I can tell, every type of treatment that is offered by DoD and the VA to help with TBI. I think I have tried every medication for headaches, every medication family group. I have even done Botox injections to my head to try to deal with headaches. I have been through occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, psycho therapy and about 4-5 variants… at that point I was introduced to HBOT…. I have seen an amazing improvement. Just orders of magnitude improvement beyond anything….just a huge difference….started working out. For the first time in years I’ve been able to read a book…. to have hope again….to have more of a future than to just be moving piles of dirt around in the back yard….” [all this after only 40 dives]
G.I.’s Forge Sunni Tie in Bid to Squeeze Militants
New York Times
Scott Nelson/World Picture Network, for The New York Times
Capt. Ben Richards, left, discussed the positions of militants recently with residents and the police in the Buhritz sector of Baquba, Iraq.
Published: July 6, 2007
War Wounds By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: August 10, 2012
Maj. Ben Richards, who suffered repeated head injuries in Iraq, sums up his future: “It comes to failure.” A car bomb in Iraq in May 2007 left Ben Richards, then a captain, with a severe concussion. A second concussion left him with debilitating injuries. [Note: it took the Army over 5 years to actually diagnose Ben with a TBI. Up to that point, he was disabled with PTSD, so far as he knew. His inability to get better was attributed — by himself and others — to his malingering and lack of willingness to work harder.]
December 11, 2014
To whom it may concern,
My name is Miguel A. Bermudez-Gonzalez, former U.S. Navy Electrician’s Mate First Class, Submarine qualified.
While serving on board the submarine USS San Juan (SSN 751) in 1998, I suffered a concussion. During a workup period preparing for a deployment I hit my head on a valve located in a cramped space in the engine room and lost consciousness. The Navy Hospital Corpsman onboard treated me and after being monitored for a couple of hours released me. After a day or two I felt that I was back to normal and did not pay any attention to the incident.
Approximately 5 months after the concussion I started to suffer from migraine headaches, with the first episode lasting 4 days. During those 4 days in the middle of our deployment I was incapacitated to the point in which the corpsman would inject me with pain killers and I was confined to my rack. This was the beginning, the migraines continued and worsen. By the end of 1999 I spent close to three months in bed, asleep from all the pain medication. Eventually I received a medical discharge from the Navy and tried to continue with my life.
The Veterans Administration rated me at a 30% disability and took over my care. After seeing several neurologists and other doctors my condition never improved. Countless prescriptions for several different medications would only reduce my level of pain, but the end result was always the same: I would spend weeks in bed with so much medication in me that I was effectively just a mass of flesh. This pattern would continue, and this year I spent a continuous four and a half months out of work.
I came to the conclusion that there was no solution to my problem. That was true until a co-worker and friend referred me to Dr. Paul Harch. I traveled from Florida to Louisiana and was examined by Dr. Harch. I figured that seeing just another doctor would not hurt. He confirmed my concussion diagnosis but for the first time a doctor connected my concussion to my migraines. The migraines were not a condition but a symptom of a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). I had a SPECT scan done that confirmed my mTBI and he said that his Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment would be beneficial for me. After living with debilitating migraines for over 16 years and after taking almost every medication known to treat migraines I had my reservations about the treatment. At the time I started my Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment I was taking 7 prescription medications and had a severe migraine that had lasted 4.5 months. After 6 treatments the pain abated. After 15 treatments I was able to stop taking all medication. Today on my 32 second treatment I feel that I have a second chance, the chance of a normal productive life. During those 16 years I always had a feeling of pressure or mild pain on my right temple, like something that did not belong was there. This was a daily symptom; I ALWAYS felt that pressure/pain. Today I am completely pain free.