Regaining Life After
An Invisible Combat Wound:
The Gunnery Sergeant
Charles Rotenberry Family Story
Courtesy of Producer Christopher Free, and Director Jim Hooker
Chuck earned a Purple Heart on that rugged landscape, and he also injured his brain.
You’d never know it to look at the lean, 6-foot-1 veteran with the easy smile and gentle manner. There’s no visible evidence, no scar – just an injury inside that’s derailed the tranquility of a family that looks picture-postcard-perfect.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury often land in the news when violence erupts, but the reality is, thousands struggle quietly in day-to-day battles that never cross the public’s radar screen.
According to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center data, Chuck’s was one of more than 250,000 cases of traumatic brain injury in the military between 2000 and 2012. An estimated 14 percent of American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD.
Such injuries go back centuries. What’s new is the recognition, screening, treatment and exploration of the role that the alphabet soup of TBI and PTSD plays in substance abuse, sleep problems and suicide.
The injuries are difficult to treat. Counseling, medication and rest have been mainstays, but the varied results and side effects drive many veterans to search for alternatives.
A web series produced by John Salcedo and L.A. City Films Los Angles, CA
John Salcedo has done it again in this short film that explains some of the obstacles in getting the word out about hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Dan Greathouse, (author of “Doc, I want my brain back – My HBOT Miracle”) offers here a short interview with Dr. Paul Harch and allows him to explain why the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs seems to be ignoring this treatment.
L.A. City Films and Salcedo offer this web series to help get the word out on the Oxygen Revolution.
Dan Greathouse: Dr. Harch with so many veterans committing suicide and so many problems that we hear on the NEWS, does the VA know about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy [HBOT]? Dr. Harch: Oh, you bet they do. They well know about this. I’ve shown this to multiple [U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Administration Offices] VAs. We’ve met at least twice, me personally, but my team now I believe three or four times with the top VA researchers who are doing studies on Traumatic Brain Injuries [TBI]. We have met with and I have presented this data, and science behind it, to the New Orleans VA, the Shreveport [Louisiana] VA, the Houston VA – a couple of years ago – their entire brain injury and PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] group of doctors and researchers to a combined grand-rounds of the Tampa Bay and West Palm Beach VAs a few years ago, and the entire lecture was videoed and disseminated by live feed to thirteen, I believe, other VAs around the country. The VA is well aware of [HBOT in TBI/PTSD] this. But we cannot understand why they won’t at least try this when everybody is in agreement that it is safe-done on the protocol I have developed in this lower pressure range, [and] that there is increasing evidence of its effectiveness. And they have no other therapy. Their current therapies are these drugs that have been implicated in the increase suicide epidemic in veterans. We are nodding and understanding. I mean you even satisfy the Hippocratic Oath! As I said before, it’s all prescribed regimen while doing no harm. Most doctors will say, oh it’s first “do no harm.” Okay, fine first we are not doing harm, and it might be effective when you have essentially no other effective therapy. Dan Greathouse: Has the VA even issued a formal response to you about Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment? Dr. Harch: That’s an interesting question. They, right before my presentation to the Houston VA they disseminated a national opinion that was a review of the literature on Hyperbaric Oxygen in Traumatic Brain Injury. It was unfortunately superficial and incomplete, but it came to a negative conclusion-there was no evidence and essentially they couldn’t recommend it. I was unaware that this was distributed to all of the people at the meeting that I walked into. I didn’t have a chance to address it until I had given my presentation. Formally; actually I didn’t get to address it – it was just their objections and I couldn’t understand the resistance until we had left and found out that they had been given this VA document as reading material right before I had made my visit there. So their position is one of a negative one, a non-treatment one, and beyond that it’s very difficult to get information out of the VA and who’s making the decisions? It’s just amorphous, anonymous and almost impenetrable. Pierre Gremillion: The public doesn’t know what they don’t know. It’s simple. The reality of this is that pressure and oxygen heals. It heals wounds on your foot. It will heal a scrape on your knee-when you put hydrogen peroxide on it, and it will heal your brain. And, that is the single message that needs to get out there-is that is oxygen, profusing the body and all of its’ tissue with oxygen, heals.
Local doctor to offer new study for vets suffering from PTSD
wwltv.com Posted on October 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM Meg Farris / Eyewitness News Email: email@example.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury may soon have relief from their symptoms.
Dr. Paul Harch, a leader in hyperbaric medicine, claims hyperbaric oxygen therapy may substantially improve TBI and PTSD symptoms.
James Ciconne was an E4 in the Army and was diagnosed with PTSD after spending a year in Iraq. The illness caused him to take his own life last year.
His father, Bill Ciconne, remembers the last three text messages he got from his son.
“I love you, thank you for raising me, and goodbye,” Bill said his son texted. “I will never accept my son not being here.”
Bill Ciconne supports Dr. Harch’s research.
There are 22 suicides in the military every day. Dr. Harch said this treatment could help prevent these kind of suicides.
Dr. Harch is chief of hyperbaric oxygen medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center. He said he’s seen the positive changes after treatment in veterans with brain trauma. He remembers the words of one.
Click here for more information on hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
For more information about Mercy Medical Airlift, call 1-800-296-1217.
Editors Note: This story was originally reported by reporter/anchor Lucy Bustamante of WVEC, our sister station in Virginia Beach. Medical reporter Meg Farris updated the recent developments with Dr. Paul Harch.
A brilliant short video presented to Harch Hyperbarics Inc.at the 2011 HBOT conference in Bratislava, by G7oz.org to show the many benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy HBOT. All rights reserved.
Hi there, I would like to tell you a little about hyperbaric oxygen therapy also known as HBOT. A therapy you might not have heard of, but which can help me bring relief to a lot of you folks out there. So please take a seat, give me a little bit of your time, and I will tell you what HBOT is and how it can help you or your relatives.
Personally, the first time I heard the term HBOT I thought I had stumbled upon some new space technology, but as I found out later the history of HBOT goes back to the 16th century. But to leaving history behind us let’s explore one fact which almost always goes on noticed though it is right under our noses. I think all of us as children have heard the same; you must eat to grow up big and strong, be a fireman, the handsome. I don’t want to argue with our moms and grandmothers, what they only told half the story. Without one other ingredient only 5% of energy stored and food can be used by the body. Do you know what ingredient? Still puzzled? OK I’ll give you a hint. It is invisible, odorless, it is a symbol O2. Yes, it is oxygen.
Overlooked, taken for granted yet invaluable for our lives oxygen is not only fuel or our bodies it can also do a lot more. And here we come right back the HBOT-the therapy treatment itself will take us into a machine called a hyperbaric chamber. You may have seen one on TV in connection with deep sea diving accidents.
Inside the hyperbaric chamber you breathe 100% pure oxygen in contrast to only about 21% that is present in the earth’s atmosphere, and most importantly, it is at a much higher pressure than normal. The pressure will vary by the diagnosis being treated but it can be up to three atmospheres the equivalent of being 20.1 meters deep underwater. Thanks to this specific environment various unusual effects occur. For example, the average adult consumes almost 2.7 Kg of O2 per day of which only 900 grams go into the bloodstream. In a hyperbaric chamber with double the atmospheric pressure we breathe double the number of molecules, but remember when HBOT we use pure oxygen. This results in breathing 10 times the regular amount of oxygen. So in one hour we can inhale 1,100 grams. As a result red blood cells instantly fill up with the oxygen and the leftover O2 is almost directly into a blood plasma. In a few minutes all this extra oxygen builds up tissue oxygen levels far above normal even in damaged hypoxic tissue which helps healing. Among other effects we should mention, and ones you should ask your doctor about, are:
1. Decreasing swelling and inflammation
2. Promotion of growth of new blood vessels
3. Increase the body’s ability to fight infection
4. Helping the body discard toxins and metabolic waste products
5. Acceleration of healing rate
We can say that the combination of high oxygen concentration and high pressure basically transforms the oxygen into an effective drug. This drug when used properly and in combination with conventional therapies and treatments can bring noticeable result in only twelve to forty sessions depending on the diagnosis.
When should you think about hyperbaric oxygen therapy? I would recommend looking into finding more information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy you or your relative suffers from:
1. Carbon monoxide poisoning
2. Crush syndrome
3. Gas embolism
4. Decompression Sickness
5. Anaerobic or mixed anaerobic bacterial infection
6. Diabetic foot lesion
7. Non-healing wounds secondary to inflammatory
8. Radio induced manifestations
9. Severe burns
11. Diabetes and cardiac diseases
13. And others
If you’re interested in learning more you can start at hbot.com
Be happy and be healthy.
Dr. Paul Harch, MD (hbot.com) treated a scuba diver institutionalized because of brain-injury from Decompression Sickness (DCS; “the bends”). Ignoring the US Navy’s protocol for HBOT for DCS, Harch instead treated at a lower pressure, and the patient recovered. The patient left the institution, went to graduate school, got married, and went on to lead a normal life. Harch then theorized HBOT would benefit other neuropathologies and went on to become the first physician in North America to treat a cerebral palsy child with HBOT. After that success, he later was one of the first physicians in the world to treat an autistic child with hyperbaric oxygen. This news story from New Orleans ABC affiliate Channel 26 documents just such a case, from the late 1990’s. Jacelyn Moll goes from no eye contact and no walking–to engaging in appropriate communication skills–and walking. Also included is Chad Rovira, who recovered from coma as a result of HBOT.
Michelle Obama, Jill Biden Join Forces with LSUHSC for military families
LSUHSC hitches onto Obama’s vet program
January 27, 2012
Contributing Writer for The Daily Reveille
First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative to support and medically treat the nation’s veterans is spanning medical schools nationwide, and while LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans is among them, the initiative has been in place there for four years, thanks to Paul Harch. Continue reading →
Dan Greathouse suffered severe brain damage from a scuba diving accident that caused the Bends but was misdiagnosed for years. Just as he reached the edge of madness, a simple oxygen treatment came to his rescue.
A short documentary exploring the application of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) dealing specifically with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on brain injured veterans and soldiers deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan.
Harch Hyperbarics for Traumatic Brain Injury WGNO ABC26
Injuries suffered in two separate roadside-bomb explosions in a span of two months in Iraq in early 2008 left Tim Hecker with a traumatic brain injury and severe post-traumatic stress. He was no longer the man Tina had married.
Frustrated with her husband’s descent and the lack of progress with traditional care, Tina went online and found information about Dr. Paul Harch, a New Orleans-based physician specializing in hyperbaric medicine. His facility, Harch Hyperbarics Family Physicians’ Center, uses high-pressure oxygen to treat basic pathophysiologic conditions.
Following a phone call and an initial interview, Tim was selected to be part of Harch’s pilot study on the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for TBI and PTS. He claims the treatments have given him back most of his pre-injury life.
BRAIN STORM: NCIS, A True Story | Best Short Film WINNER in the Los Angeles Cinema Festival | INDEPENDENCE DAY 2012
This is an L.A. City Films Production
BRAIN STORM: NCIS, A True Story ( 9 Min ) : A Short Film exploring the application of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on wounded war fighters suffering from blast induced Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) during combat operations in Iraq/Afghanistan. LtCol Al Burghard, USMC, retired, shares his story for the advancement of Dr. Harch’s hyperbaric medicine research.
To date, there are no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of chronic traumatic brain injury. The current standard of care for brain injured military veterans is the off-label prescribing of psychoactive medications blackbox labeled by the FDA for increased suicidality. These medications have been implicated in the 18 veteran suicides per day epidemic.
At the same time, conventional medicine has no suitable alternative treatment. The medical research of Dr. Paul G. Harch, MD, however, strongly suggests that there is an effective treatment. That treatment is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the simple daily intermittent exposure to increased pressures of oxygen. Dr. Harch’s research is showing that HBOT 1.5 ATA can improve brain blood flow, metabolism, neurological function, and give patients back their lives.