In typical cavalier fashion, drug giant Purdue Pharma has decided to curtail the sale of OxyContin that has brought misery and death to tens of thousands addicted to opioids.
Why it has taken so long for this scandal to end – particularly to families who have lost loved ones – is difficult to fathom. Perhaps, the allure of bonuses for licensed drug peddlers or the irresistible pull of a higher stock price blinded this company from the inescapable evidence that it was hooking Americans on lethal drugs.
Needless to say, State and local governments are mounting huge suits against the predatory marketing practices of Purdue. No doubt, local governments will win major financial judgements against Purdue Pharma, but will there be any assets left after Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy? More importantly, how can you possibly place a value on the thousands of lives that have been destroyed by this toxic drug company that has done more damage to our society than all of the Colombian drug lords combined?
More importantly, PURDUE PHARMA DID IT WITH THE FULL SUPPORT AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE US GOVERNMENT.
SFTT has been reporting on this shameful tragedy for well over five years. We documented how Veterans received these powerful narcotics from the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) and flushed them down the toilet or crushed them into powder to sell them on the black market.
While non-invasive treatment for PTSD and TBI like hyperbaric oxygen therapy are rigorously dismissed by the VA in favor of new drugs, Veterans are unlikely to find that their lives are restored to any semblance of what it was in the past.
It is hard to believe that Purdue Pharma has been aggressively peddling their toxic drugs in our backyard (Stamford), but it would appear that our healthcare system is rigged to encourage more abuses
Of all the current “alternative” therapies reviewed by Stand For The Troops (“SFTT”), hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT is clearly supported by evidence-based clinical trials and an abundance of evidence (both scientific and anecdotal) that it help reverse brain trauma.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (“HBOT”)? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. According to Harch Hyperbarics, “oxygen is transported throughout the body only by red blood cells.
With HBOT, oxygen is dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph, and the bone and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. The increased oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas. It is a simple, non-invasive and painless treatment.”
How Does HBOT Work?
The Mayo Clinic explains the HBOT procedure: hyperbaric oxygen therapy typically is performed as an outpatient procedure and doesn’t require hospitalization. If you’re already hospitalized and require hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you’ll remain in the hospital for therapy. Or you’ll be transported to a hyperbaric oxygen facility that’s separate from the hospital.
Depending on the type of medical institution you to do and the reason for treatment, you will receive HBOT in one of two settings:
A unit designed for 1 person. In an individual (monoplace) unit, you lie down on a table that slides into a clear plastic tube.
A room designed to accommodate several people. In a multi-person hyperbaric oxygen room — which usually looks like a large hospital room — you may sit or lie down. You may receive oxygen through a mask over your face or a lightweight, clear hood placed over your head.
What is the VA’s Position on HBOT Based on their own trials, the DoD and the VA insist that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of HBOT in treating Veterans with PTSD. Nevertheless, the VA is currently conducting new HBOT trials at VA facilities in Oklahoma and California.
How Much Does HBOT Cost?
A one-hour “dive” in an HBOT chamber can cost anywhere between $200 and $1,800. While prices tend to be lower at independent clinics, HBOT facilities tied to hospitals can charge more because HBOT treatment may be covered by medical insurance. In the case of PTSD and TBI, an initial series of 40 dives is recommended to occur over a two-month period.
Selected SFTT Posts on HBOT
SFTT is convinced that there is overwhelming scientific evidence to support the use of supervised HBOT to help Veterans with PTSD and TBI. SFTT has written extensively on this issue over the last several years. Please find below suggested posts:
While no one will claim that HBOT or any therapy will work 100% of the time, the application of hyperbaric oxygen in a controlled and carefully monitored environment has produced significant improvements in patient outcomes. More importantly, HBOT is a non-invasive procedure without the often unpredictable effects of addictive prescription drugs.
The Department of Veteran Affairs (the “VA”) continues to struggle to provide effective therapy for Veterans with PTSD and TBI. As such, SFTT has decided to focus most of its attention on helping Veterans and their families cope with the ravages of the silent wounds of war.
The devastating effect of brain injury for hundreds of thousands of Veterans and their families cannot be underestimated. While SFTT will focus primarily on “new” therapy programs, we will occasionally report on the very unsettling problems faced by Veterans and their families as they seek to recover their lives.
Some “alternative” therapies have already proven to be quite successful, but many others are not widely known to Veterans or the medical profession at large. Even if these programs were endorsed or approved by the VA, treatment is often beyond the financial means of most Veterans.
While SFTT will let the “news” speak for itself, the science of treating brain injury is still in its infancy. SFTT attempts to provide balanced reporting of the pros and cons of these emerging therapy programs but strongly encourages the reader to make up their own mind as to their efficacy.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or “HBOT”
Among the most promising therapies is hyperbaric oxygen therapy or “HBOT,” Essentially, HBOT consists of a series of controlled dives in a compression chamber where Veterans receive oxygen under pressure. Many independent research studies have confirmed the efficacy of HBOT, but the VA and the DoD have consistently claimed that there is limited evidence to sustain the assertion that HBOT helps to improve brain function.
Despite the VA’s policy, many countries use HBOT to treat brain injury. In fact, the Israel Defense Forces (“IDF”) use HBOT to treat any concussive event for its military personnel. SFTT has written often about the efficacy of HBOT.
Nevertheless, VA spokesperson Dr. David Cifu continues to claim that current VA program are more effective than HBOT. The clinical evidence strongly suggests that Dr Ciful is misleading Veterans, Congressional subcommittees that oversee the VA and the public about the lack of efficacy of HBOT. SFTT will fully address Cifu’s “misspeaks” and “questionable” scientific evidence at a later date.
According to an article published in Newsweek, the final round of clinical trials for MDMA assisted psychotherapy could lead the way for the United States to approve the drug for therapeutic use as early as 2021.
The third and final phrase of trials gets underway after the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) designated MDMA as a “breakthrough therapy” for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in August 2017, ensuring that it will work with advocates to complete the last phase quickly.
MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, is an empathogen, meaning that it stimulates togetherness and trust among users. It also inhibits activity in the brain that treats fear and stimulates hormones that make people feel more connected. While some may refer to MDMA and ecstasy interchangeably, MDMA is the pure form of the drug, while ecstasy can be cut with unknown adulterants.
SFTT Commentary: SFTT has written several times about the use of MDMA (aka “Ecstasy”) in treating PTSD. While final trial results for MDMA will not be known for several years, it is worth remembering that drugs that treat behavioral or pain symptoms but produce no long-lasting improvement in brain function may not be cause for celebration. Let’s face it, the President’s Final Report on Combating Drug Addiction (page 20) states quite clearly that “the modern opioid crisis originated within the healthcare system.” Will another drug prove more effective?
Written Exposure Therapy “WET”
According to a press release by Marilynn Larkin for the Psych Congress Network, “Written Exposure Therapy (“WET”) is noninferior to first-line cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can be delivered in fewer sessions, researchers say.”
WET involves writing about a traumatic experience under clinical guidance, using a structured format.
“Our study has important implications for clinicians, as it suggests that PTSD can be effectively treated using a much shorter, less burdensome intervention – i.e., five sessions, minimal face-to-face time with the therapist, no between-session homework assignments – than what is typically used in clinical practice,” Dr. Denise Sloan of National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System, told Reuters Health.
SFTT Commentary: The suggestion that WET is “noninferior to first-line cognitive processing therapy (“CPT”) is hardly a ringing endorsement. Despite VA propaganda to the contrary, CPT has been largely unsuccessful in treating Veterans with PTSD.
SFTT readers are encouraged to drop us a line if they discover an interesting new therapy to treat PTSD or TBI or would like to share a public interest story. SFTT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As reported earlier, the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) is now providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy of “HBOT” on a trial basis to Veterans with PTSD and TBI. This marks an abrupt turnaround within the VA that has repeatedly claimed that there is insufficient clinical “evidence” to support the use of HBOT in treating Veterans with brain injuries.
The VA’s position reportedly stems from some 32 “inconclusive” studies on the effectiveness of HBOT in treating TBI and PTSD. Most recently, the 2015 DoD trial of HBOT concluded that there was a “lack of evidence” that HBOT helped Veterans with PTSD or TBI.
Col. Miller, the DoD project manager, “didn’t see any value in moving forward with more studies.” As SFTT reported earlier, Col. Miller is an infectious disease specialist and not a brain trauma specialist. Fortunately, he now works for the Gates Foundation focusing on his specialty: infectious disease.
The VA and the DoD go to great lengths to discredit the use of HBOT in treating Veterans with brain injury. Nevertheless, their arguments seem rather spurious against the almost overwhelming scientific evidence that HBOT is effective in helping to improve brain functionality.
Some in the medical profession have questioned whether test protocols in the DoD 2015 study were manipulated to produce the “inconclusive” outcome. More to the point, how is it possible for the VA to continue to defend its ONLY two non-invasive therapy programs: Prolonged Exposure Therapy (“PE”) and, Cognitive Processing Therapy (“CPT”)? Patient outcomes for these two programs have been shown by independent studies to be next to useless.
Hopefully, the lack of any meaningful success in treating PTSD and TBI has forced the VA to accelerate its exploration of alternative therapies. Hopefully, HBOT will soon be incorporated into the treatment options currently provided to Veterans by the VA.
“In essence, our mental attitude is that we must take care of ourselves and through that process little Israel has become a blessing for the rest of the world…we treasure our soldiers, young and old. They are our only defenders….no one else will fight our battles. You can imagine that every concussive event will be treated with HBOT !” . . .“the policy of the IDF is that life has the highest value and they are committed to use any treatment, in any case, to save a life”.
Furthermore, as Dr. Paul Harch and others have pointed out, there are many independent scientific studies confirming the benefits of HBOT. Specifically, Dr. Xavier Figueroa has written a compelling argument suggesting that the VA has dropped the ball on HBOT research.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that Veterans are seeking treatment centers all across the United States. In many cases, clinics are opening their doors to Veterans to help them recover from the silent wounds of war. Nevertheless, the treatment can be quite expensive as remains out of financial reach for most Veterans.
While Veterans and their support givers cope with this devastating war wound, SFTT remains hopeful that HBOT and other alternative therapy programs will soon be adopted by the VA to help these brave Veterans recover their lives.
Found below is an old (2012) but compelling video (caution, it takes a while to load) from a TV Station in Louisiana (WWL.com) which shows the remarkable recovery of Maj. Ben Richards mental and motor skills after having received treatment from Paul Harch:
While HBOT may not be “right” solutions for all Veterans suffering from brain injury, it does seem a far more compelling treatment alternative to the ineffective programs currently offered by the VA. More to the point, HBOT is non-invasive which suggests that we won’t have a new generation of addicts to contend with given failed VA programs.
In a somewhat surprising but not totally unexpected development, the “VA’s Center for Compassionate Innovation (CCI) will offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (“HBOT’) to a small number of selected veterans with chronic PTSD in a pilot program to be run through facilities in Oklahoma and Texas.”
SFTT joins Bethesda Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (“Bethesda HBOT’) in applauding this initiative by the VA. Bethesda HBOT notes that “worldwide research and years of clinical experience has clearly demonstrated that HBOT is not only extremely safe in treating PTSD and head injury, especially when compared with psychoactive and mood altering drugs, but also has been effective in treating thousands of veterans and active duty service members with underlying brain injury.”
“As healthcare leaders interested in innovative approaches to care, the VA Center for Compassionate Innovation (CCI) is facilitating use of HBOT for a subset of Veterans who have noticed no decrease of symptoms after receiving at least two evidenced-based treatments. CCI uses innovative approaches to treat conditions where traditional methods have been unsuccessful. VA will monitor the HBOT clinical demonstration project and the HBOT research study to help inform the potential for HBOT usage to treat a larger number of Veterans with PTSD.”
As SFTT reported earlier, it seems that Secretary David Shulkin agreed to accelerate the use of HBOT for Veterans with PTSD over widespread opposition within the VA.
In fact, the Stars and Stripes article cites some 32 “inconclusive” studies on the effectiveness of HBOT in treating TBI and PTSD. Furthermore, it quotes Col. Scott Miller, the lead study author for a 2015 VA study, arguing that there was a “lack of evidence” HBOT helped and that “he didn’t see any value in moving forward with more studies.” SFTT finds it surprising that Col. Miller was lead on this project when he is reportedly an “infectious disease specialist.”
Several HBOT specialists have suggested that the DoD botched test protocols that let to its “inconclusive” findings.
How does this VA Change in Policy on HBOT Affect Veterans?
It is evident in the Stars and Stripes article that entrenched administrators within the VA are opposed to the use of HBOT in treating Veterans with PTSD and TBI. As SFTT has reported many times, the “High Priests” and Gatekeepers at the VA have mounted a vigorous campaign to discredit the use of HBOT in treating Veterans with brain trauma.
Frankly, scientific or clinical evidence is not lacking to support the use of HBOT in treating Veterans with brain trauma. What is lacking is a willingness of the VA to support alternative therapies.
One must hope that the VA will move expeditiously to provide HBOT to “selected Veterans” at CCI facilities in Oklahoma and Texas, but the widespread adoption of HBOT by the VA is still some years away.
Questions for the VA?
When will initial “testing” begin?
How many Veterans with “chronic PTSD” be including in the program”
Who will administer the HBOT test protocols for these Veterans?
If “legitimate” test results prove encouraging, how will Veterans gain access to HBOT therapy?
Since HBOT Oxygen Chambers (and qualified personnel) are lacking at VA facilities, will Veterans receive this therapy from the private sector?
Estimated time frame from evaluating test results to widespread deployment of the HBOT alternative.
While SFTT is delighted that the VA is pressing forward with HBOT, it does seem that it is more of a reaction to public and political pressure rather than any internal VA initiative. Based on years in observing the VA bureaucracy, it is likely that its administrators will do everything possible to discredit this noninvasive and widely accepted therapy to treat PTSD.
In a carefully crafted message, “The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week that it would begin offering hyperbaric oxygen therapy (“HBOT”) to some veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, despite a lack of evidence that it works or being approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for PTSD.”
The news was released by “Stars and Stripes” on November 30 in an article titled “VA to offer unproven hyperbaric oxygen therapy to vets with PTSD.”
The article is hardly a ringing endorsement of HBOT. More to the point, Secretary Shulkin reportedly said on Wednesday that “the VA must ‘explore every avenue’ and ‘be open to new ideas.’”
Well, HBOT may be “new” to the VA, but this therapy has been around for decades and is used successfully around the world to treat patients with brain trauma. The VA stigma exists because Dr. David Cifu and many other bureaucrats within the VA continue to push a stale agenda of ineffective and often dangerous therapies that don’t work.
In fact, this is one of the major reasons that Veterans with PTSD and TBI have sought treatment outside the VA. Talking heads at the VA would like Veterans and the public to believe that HBOT is “snake oil,” but there is a long and detailed clinical trail of evidence that suggests otherwise.
Arguing that HBOT is “not FDA or DoD approved” rings a bit hollow after the President’s Report on Fighting Drug Addiction and Opioid Abuse states that “the modern opioid crisis originated within the healthcare system.”
Let’s face it: What do you do when evidence-based medicine is proved wrong? Well, in this case, the Federal government will provide “the healthcare system” with billions of taxpayer dollars to fix the mess they largely created. Sounds absurd, but you don’t even have to read the small print.
While SFTT is thrilled that Dr. Shulkin has decided to part ways with the orthodoxy of failed VA therapies to treat Veterans with PTSD, it will be years before all Veterans will receive the lifesaving benefits of HBOT. Furthermore, it is likely that the VA and DoD will again manipulate test protocols to produce treatment outcomes that produce inconclusive results.
Will HBOT work in all cases? Of course not, but life-changing outcomes are far more likely with HBOT than the only two failed programs currently offered by the VA:
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (“PE”) and,
Cognitive Processing Therapy (“CPT”)
In any event, we hope that doctors within the VA system will not be so dismissive of HBOT that it leads to another Veteran suicide like Eric Bivins. For those who want a first-hand look into the travesty of the VA system, follow this painful trail of systemic abuse by Eric’s widowed spouse, Kimi.
Our brave Veterans deserve more and SFTT would like to thank Secretary Shulkin for taking this important first step.
SFTT joins millions of Americans in offering our thanks this Thanksgiving to the Veterans and active duty personnel who valiantly defend our freedoms.
As we all sit down to enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, SFTT is reminded of those who have sacrificed their lives for our country and the many Veterans who continue to suffer from the silent wounds of war.
While the battlefield war may be over, tens of thousands of Veterans suffer the effects of brain trauma. The effect of this debilitating injury not only affects the Veteran, but their family and loved ones who act as caregivers. While one would like to think that we are close to finding a life-changing solution for Veterans who suffer from PTSD and TBI, no credible solution appears imminent.
Some promising new therapies have surfaced in recent years, but the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) seems stuck in a time-warp defending outdated and failed programs. SFTT remains hopeful that the VA will come to its senses and begin adopting some successful third-party programs that have worked wonders for Veterans.
Hiding behind the mantra of “evidence-based medicine” sounds good, but loses its luster when the evidence strongly suggests that the VA programs have failed.
Our Veterans and their loved ones need solutions now!
As 2017 draws to a close, SFTT would like to thank a few people and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of Veterans this year. By no means is this an all-inclusive list, but one that offers our Veterans a path to recovering their lives:
Paul Harch and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Dr. Paul Harch is one of the leading practitioners of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or “HBOT.” HBOT is a commonly used therapy provide patients with oxygen administered under pressure in a series of “dives” in an HBOT chamber. Used widely around the world for decades, HBOT has been shown to stimulate brain cells and help reverse the symptoms of PTSD and TBI. While many Veterans have found dramatic improvement in their condition, HBOT is not recommended by the VA to treat Veterans with PTSD and TBI.
Colin and Karen Archipley of Archi’s Acres
Thanks to combat-decorated Marine Sergeant Colin Archipley and his wife, Karen, a successful fashion industry entrepreneur in her own right, Archi’s Acres provides dedicated Veterans with the skills necessary to run a successful organic farming business in their community. With meaningful jobs in short supply for Veterans returning from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Archi’s Acres gives Veterans a lifeline to become entrepreneurs in a rapidly growing and eco-friendly business.
Yuval Neria and Equine Assisted Therapy
Dr. Neria is Professor of Medical Psychology at the Columbia University Medical Center and “Scientific Advisor” to Stand for the Troops (“SFTT”). He is now deeply involved in the Man O’War Project which is the first-ever clinical research study to determine the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy (“EAT”) and establish guidelines for the treatment of military veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).
Maj. Ben Richards and Service Dog Bronco
Maj. Ben Richards is the Director of Veterans Operations at SFTT. Over a year ago, Maj. Richards acquired a service dog, Bronco, which has brought much needed comfort, safety and stability to his life. Sadly, the VA is “studying” the efficacy of service dogs in helping other Veterans with PTSD. This study will not be available until 2019.
Dr. Henry Grayson and Neuro Pathways
Dr. Grayson is co-chairman of SFTT’s Medical Task Force and has provided several day-long training programs to caregivers and clinical psychologists dealing with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (“PTSD”). The author of Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind, Dr. Grayson presents a radical view of health and healing based on an equally radical world view that we are all intrinsically connected rather than separate and that our belief in our separateness is a causal source of emotional and physical illness. Positing the body as the recipient of our beliefs, he shows that reading and responding to the body is a reliable path to emotional and physical healing. This is a challenging read with practical help for all willing to explore beyond the borders of traditional beliefs.”
A prominent figure that recently came to our attention was Kris Kristofferson, who had been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s when it was actually Lyme disease. According to his wife, the 79-year old singer “suddenly came back,” after 6 “dives” in a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber (“HBOT”). Says his wife, Lisa, in an article published in the UK Daily Mail:
“We were driving back from his sixth HBOT treatment and he looks over at me and says, ‘Wow, I feel like I’m back.’ And I looked right in his eyes and I said, ‘OH MY GOD, HE’S BACK! It was like, WHOA!'”
As readers of SFTT are aware, the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) has done everything possible to discredit the use of hyperbaric oxygen in treating Veterans with PTSD and TBI. More to the point, the VA has been pushing its own failed treatment programs (Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Treatment) in the name of “evidence-based” medicine.
When people in the medical profession argue on the basis of “evidence-based” medicine, it has much the same ring as the doctrine of “religious infallibility.” Let’s take everything with a grain of salt, since there is still much to discover, even for those wedded to the orthodoxy of “evidence-based” medicine.
SFTT is thrilled that Kris Kristofferson is on the road to recovery. Furthermore, we are not surprised to learn of the benefits of HBOT in treating the “real” cause of his ailing mental health.
While Mr. Kristofferson has a choice in seeking “a second opinion” and the type of therapy he prefers to treat his condition, most brave Veterans do not. Sadly, the VA does not provide Veterans with a “second opinion.” Also, the Va’s narrow treatment programs referred to as the “McDonaldisation of mental health care” offer no tangible benefits to Veterans or their families.
We sincerely hope that – in the not too distant future – our brave Veterans will be able to avail themselves of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other “old” and emerging treatment programs through the VA.
This Saturday (November 11, 2017), Fox TV will air a broadcast on how Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (“HBOT”) is helping hundreds – if not thousands – of Veterans with PTSD and TBI.
This special program will be aired on Veterans’ Day. The video below was prepared by The National Hyperbaric Association to demonstrate that “real” therapy is available to the tens of thousands of brave warriors suffering from PTSD and TBI.
HBOT is a proven therapy widely used around the world for patients suffering from brain trauma. Sadly, the folks at the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”) are still peddling the same stale “evidence-based” therapy programs to Veterans that do not work:
“The VA has very little evidence to show that PE and CPT therapy programs have done much to reduce the incidence of PTSD symptoms among Veterans against the “gold-standard” standardized PCL-M tests currently used by the VA. The chart below illustrates the point (50 is considered base level):
Aside from being very expensive to administer, the ‘evidence based medicine’ supporting the effectiveness of PE and CPT programs currently administered by the VA is SADLY LACKING.”
It is difficult to understand the VA’s hardline against HBOT, particularly when the overwhelming statistical “evidence” clearly demonstrates that the VA’s own therapy programs are severely flawed. Furthermore, this is the same institution that hooked Veterans on opioids (and indirectly fueled a national epidemic) based on flawed clinical trials.
Dr. David Cifu, the Dr. Orange of PTSD at the VA?
How many more times do we have to listen to Dr. David Cifu testify before Congress that he (read “the VA”) knows best when treating Veterans with PTSD? It is ironic to note that in David Cifu’s quest to discredit hyperbaric oxygen therapy, his employer (Vincent Viola – once tapped to be Secretary of the Army) is alleged to treat his racehorses with HBOT.
One might ask why thoroughbreds get the benefit HBOT while Veterans are denied HBOT at the VA? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect that the “serious” money lies in new clinical trials and “breakthrough” drugs peddled by Big Pharma.
Or is it the VA’s special take on insanity?: Providing Veterans with the same battery of lame therapy programs and psychotic drugs, but hoping for a more positive outcome.”
It is sad to see our Veterans being sold down the river by less-than-candid mouthpieces of a rudderless VA, but the truth is as clear as the Presidential report on Fighting Drug Addiction and Opioid Abuse. Look no further than the damning statement: “the modern opioid crisis originated within the healthcare system.”
If you think that common sense and a desire to genuinely help our Veterans with PTSD and TBI will manifest itself soon – you are likely to be disappointed.
As they say at the Beltway Racetrack, “the fix is in!”
If you genuinely want to help our brave Veterans, write your Congressmen (and women) and Senators and State and Local representatives. Also, do take the time to learn the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen and give generously to SFTT and the National Hyperbaric Association to support our brave Veterans.
Veterans Day is more than waving the flag. Don’t let the festering sore at the VA continue to kill hope among our Veterans and their loved ones.
As we reported earlier, Veteran Eric Bivins committed suicide after being unable to find the support and care he needed from the Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”).
Found below are a moving – AND MOST SAD – series of videos by Kimi Bivins, Eric’s spouse which describes her experiences with the VA in attempting to find the proper care for her husband.
Kimi’s experiences with the VA are not dissimilar from my own and countless of others who have sought care from the VA. I agree with Kimi that it is a “national disgrace,” yet the VA continues to remain largely unaccountable for their callousness and disdain in treating our brave warriors.
I would encourage readers to watch these powerful videos to understand the frustration and agony of a loved-one in dealing with the VA.
Kimi’s YouTube videos are presented in a more or less chronological order, with limited commentary by me other than to clarify certain expressions.
Published on March 23, 2016. Kimi’s Initial PRIVATE Appeal for Help.
Published on March 10, 2016. Kimi’s Frustration on Getting VA Paperwork
Published on March 18, 2016. Eric in a VA Facility
Published on March 23, 2016. Eric is Coping, but Life is Still Very Difficult
Published on April 13, 2016. Eric at Independent Treatment Facility.
Published on May 15, 2016. Eric is Better, But Seeks Therapy Outside the VA
Published July 11, 2017. After Eric’s Suicide
While many will be shocked by these series of videos, it is far too commonplace within the VA.
Before Eric’s suicide he had been accepted into a program to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT. I credit HBOT with saving my life and enabling me to begin the long road to recover my life.
It is sad that some uninformed doctor at the VA would shatter Eric’s dream of life-changing therapy by parroting the VA’s institutional bias against HBOT.
Dr. David Cifu and his cronies at the VA and the DoD have done their upmost to discredit HBOT and other alternative therapies to support the failed VA programs of Cognitive Process Therapy (“CPT”) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (“PE”).
Failed VA therapy programs to treat PTSD have been documented numerous times by credible independent studies. And yet, VA spokespeople still parrot the same stale party line. Veterans with PTSD and TBI are not deceived and have abandoned the VA in droves.
It sickens me to watch these tragic videos of Kimi documenting her fruitless attempt to navigate the uncaring bureaucracy of the VA. In my estimation, Kimi’s videos should be mandatory training for all employees at the VA.
While the VA provides much needed comfort to thousands of Veterans, those Veterans with PTSD and TBI need to look elsewhere for REAL therapy.