VETERAN SUICIDE PREVENTION AND BRAIN-WOUND HEALING: 2021 UPDATE

“VA’s top clinical priority is preventing suicide among all Veterans — including those who do not, and may never, seek care within the VA health care system.”
 
SUMMARY: The TreatNOW Coalition is working to expand the VA’s standard of care for Suicide Prevention through use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and other proven alternative therapies for TBI/PTSD. With the suicide epidemic growing across all military services, the National Guard, the Reserves, the VA, Special Operations and in society, Congress should insist that HBOT be made available for all brain-wounded service members and veterans without delay.
 

HBOT Progress in 2021

 
TreatNOW Coalition efforts have a central message: DoD and the VA should immediately treat brain-wounded Warriors with Hyperbaric Oxygenation and other proven alternative therapies to stop the suicide and opioid overdose epidemics and bolster readiness imperiled by mental health problems.
 
  1. The TreatNOW Coalition issued a seminal Report in October 2021, The National Brain-Wounded Veteran Brain Drain: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Changing the DoD and VA Standard of Care for TBI and Suicide Prevention. Highlights include:
    • Even though our government is spending billions of dollars on care for TBI and PTSD, it is not stopping the wave of suicides and opioid overdoses, which have continued to increase for more than 15 years
    • In fact, untreated TBI will cost taxpayers $4.7 trillion over forty years.
    • We can realize taxpayer savings of $100 billion a year by covering non-traditional Therapies.
    • We can reverse the Veteran suicide and opioid overdose epidemics, now totaling over 200,000 victims combined since 2003.
    • The need to expand and reimburse treatment options outside the VA for brain wounded Veterans, like hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
    • Veterans must be afforded informed consent and receive immediate access to proven therapies.
    • Numbers of Post 9/11 brain wounded are underestimated:
      • Estimated TBI/PTSD Veterans: 877,450
      • Estimated Veteran suicides: 109,500
      • Estimated Veteran opioid deaths: 109,206
 
  1. The release of the Report also saw us introduce a concerted Social Media and Marketing effort to alert decision makers and influencers about both the problem and our recommended solution to the suicide and opioid overdoes epidemics, and the continuing need to treat brain wounds NOW.

  2. “Science” around HBOT is complicated by erroneous DoD/VA/Army RCTs that started with a bogus sham. Their data on all 5 of their studies clearly show HBOT is safe and effective. Research partially sponsored by TreatNOW in 2021 shows conclusively that “These data necessitate an immediate reevaluation of all historical studies using hyperbaric air as a sham control. . . . It is highly probable that the ‘placebo effect’ findings in these studies is most likely an incorrect interpretation of the hyperbaric air cohort. Rather, the ‘sham control’ is a dose treatment.”

  3. Worldwide peer-reviewed research, including USG studies, continue to show HBOT-for-TBI safety and efficacy. See the most recent HBOT Research and Science.

  4. Eight states have legislated laws or resolutions calling on use of HBOT for TBI. [ OK, TX, IN, KY, AZ, FL, NC, WY ]. Florida, Indiana, Arizona and now North Carolina have allocated state funds to treat.

  5. The recent VA Pilot Demonstration observing HBOT for PTSD showed safety and efficacy in all patients treated, all of whom were VA failures, as defined by the VA.

  6. Over 200 Special Ops warriors have been treated for their TBI/PTSD/PCS. There has been in excess of 90% success. Hundreds of Navy SEALS, Force Recon Marines, Rangers, EOD, and other SOF Warriors have been treated, allowing most of them to remain on active duty, saving millions of dollars for each successful treatment. Importantly, with only two exceptions, SpecOps Warriors quit thinking about suicide. And we can’t forget the organizations that are donating to those treatments: Marines Helping Heroes Foundation and the Anne Arundel County Detachment of the MARINE CORPS LEAGUE; America’s Mighty Warriors; the HOW Foundation; the 22Project; Stand for the Troops; the Pro Football Retired Players Association, ANDI International; GRUNT STYLE, over 125 clinics in the TreatNOW Coalition; and the Marty Fund.

  7. Wounded Warrior Battalion/Camp Lejeune doctors, initially skeptical, now want all their TBI patients treated with HBOT. We have working relationships with medical staff at Camp Lejeune to treat brain wounded Marines before they are medically retired from service. To date, over a dozen Marines have participated and have shown significant medical success.

  8. Most veterans who have completed treatment in the 125+ Coalition Clinics, now over 4,000 Veteran patients, have shown significant progress. All had failed efforts in the VA using standard of care to reduce symptoms. Over 8,500 service members, athletes, citizens, first-responders suffering from TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion, have gotten life-affirming help with HBOT for their brain wounds.

  9. The language of HBOT healing brain wounds is beginning to take hold. Mechanisms of Action behind HBOT have more and more science, particularly in the area of “wound healing.” [see: HBOT Overview 2022].

  10. Legislative efforts in Indiana led to 5 hospitals under IRB preparing to treat Veterans. Kentucky hospitals who are complying with the law are following suit. A remarkable success story, the original Forrest Gump, MOH SGT Sam Davis’s story can be found here.

  11. The TreatNOW Coalition mission is to end service member suicides. Solid evidence shows suicidal ideation if virtually eliminated after HBOT treatments. Patients get off almost all their drugs.

  12. The Coalition continues its strategy is to educate, starting on the HILL, getting legislators to enforce laws they’ve already written about VA indolence on a Pilot evaluating HBOT-for-TBI. We’re also helping get Bills into the hopper, currently three. Congress has to demand that the VA provide Informed Consent about on-label indications, as well as off-label.

  13. The Coalition has increased the education campaign on the need for the VA to use HBOT for approved indications. The VA has continued to avoid having chambers in their system. It is difficult to impossible to find doctors who will inform about the use of HBOT for even Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU), an approved and insured Indication. Amputations are the norm. From 1989 through 2020, it is estimated 199,000 veterans have experienced Lower Limb Amputations (LLA’s), or on average of 6032 LLA’s per year at an estimated surgical total cost of $12.5B. 70.9% of these veterans die within three years. FDA approved HBOT for DFW could potentially lower this cost in half or more while saving as many lives yearly.

  14. The Coalition has been called on to present information about how HBOT can be used to help treat victims of Havana Syndrome. Experts like Tom Fox and his Israeli colleagues are convinced about the directed energy effects on the brain that mimic decompression sickness.

  15. Data continue to mount that COVID-infected patients avoid ventilators if they get HBOT, and get out of the ICU after a few dives. Some observational and Case studies show long-haulers are getting remarkable relief. We’re still waiting for people to start talking about “hypoxia” and the need for Oxygen for the system healing that has to take place. Over 17 studies were underway on clinicaltrials.gov at the height of COVID; 3 are listed now. Articles and studies can be found here.

  16. The Coalition has been working closely with KOTERRA [www.koterra.org]. Their mission is to address the gap in healing invisible brain wounds. When opened, the Wellness Center in Tampa will utilize advanced technologies combined with modernized services to deliver integrated healing programs. Their efforts dovetail with multiple collaborative efforts across the Functional Medicine space, aided by their distinctive emphasis on actual brain wound healing, moral and spiritual injury, and extensive diagnoses of comorbidities. This will dovetail with development of a protocol for polytrauma, informed by Dr Carol Henricks work with BurnPits360.
 
 
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Key words: brain injury, concussion, HBOT, hyperbaric, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy, mental health, opioid, opioid epidemic, OUD, oxygen, pharmaceuticals, post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, suicide epidemic, TBI, traumatic brain injury, VA, Veteran suicide, Veterans, Veterans Affairs
 
 
The information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.
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