2013-07-25 / Community News


By Rev. David N. Fischer

Imagine, if you will, that you had the capacity to heal, I mean really cure, one of our wounded veterans. Wouldn’t you act immediately to do it?

Think of the many positive results: Happier family lives, more productive persons, an increased tax base from which to draw funds to keep the healing going.

Before you toss this thought into the “pipe dream” box, read the facts.

Recently, research schools, such as Oklahoma State University, have started using hyperbaric oxygen as a treatment therapy for the concussion wounds of war. If you are not familiar with this therapy, you need to know that it consists of placing a patient inside a closed atmosphere in which they breathe pure oxygen under pressure. Normally this has been a treatment option for divers suffering from what we call the bends, or burn patients, or diabetics. Doctors at OSU have extended its use to veterans with concussion injuries.

One of the most common types of these wounds cannot even be seen with the naked eye. It is hidden, inside the skull, affecting the brain. Only the most sophisticated equipment can detect this hurt, and sometimes it may only be known by its effects.

These injuries occur in war, as a result of IED (improvised explosive device) blasts. They cause significant trauma to the brain, even if there is no obvious external trauma. As a result, our veterans come home with TBI and PTSD. TBI is traumatic brain injury and PTSD is post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sadly, neither of these can be seen from the outside. But, to the veterans, and their families, they are felt and their results are witnessed often, sometimes every day.

Envision a world in which you could not sleep, could not think clearly, could not function normally, and could not easily maintain normal emotional control. Sound horrible? It is, but this is the nightmare these veterans and their families regularly experience with little hope of cure, beyond palative, often inadequate drug therapy.

Until now. Today, OSU and other research centers are monitoring the results of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on our veterans. Their results, compared to present treatments, are nothing short of amazing.

Consider these statistics: 39% improvement in post-concussion injuries, 30% improvement in PTSD (which is the largest improvement ever shown for any treatment), 51% reduction in depression, and 96% better emotional control.

Most folks who read these numbers have the same response. “Why aren’t we doing this for all our wounded veterans?” They get the usual answer. “So far, the evidence is only anecdotal. We need to do more research before we can confirm this as a regular treatment.”

Of course, that means money, and time. But, both of these excuses can be overcome. First, we face the truth. In government, we always find the money for what we believe is important, and, most of the time, our representatives base their decisions on how loud, how long and how urgently we, the voters, want something. Besides, in Oklahoma, the conservative estimate is that upwards of 70 million dollars of new tax money would be generated each year by recovered, now-able-towork veterans.

The second excuse disappears when the first is overcome and could benefit twice from a single action. Put such a chamber in every veterans hospital. Use them on the wounded while research is being done. The result would be healing and study at the same time.

“Two-for-one” in the common venacular.

Lexington is known for many things. Suppose we became known as “the little town that could” get something magnificent done for our veterans. Sound impossible? I seem to remember that once upon a time there was a gunshot fired in another small town called Lexington and it became known as “the shot heard round the world”, the one that founded this nation.

Note: To learn more, please go to this web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k9kxYTHlps&feature=emshare_ video_ user.

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