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Hoosier Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injuries Or PTSD May Find Relief With Oxygen Therapy

Steve Wagner

The Indiana Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs recently passed Senate Bill 454, authored by State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel). The bill is aimed to help Indiana veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It would charge the Indiana Lottery Commission to create a scratch-off game that would fund a pilot program, providing free hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to Hoosiers veterans. HBOT therapy enhances the body’s natural healing process through inhalation of 100 percent oxygen. Mayo Clinic says, “In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.

Blood carries this oxygen throughout the body. This helps fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.” The HBOT service is traditionally not available for traumatic brain injuries and not covered by most insurance plans.

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center reports that within the VA, TBI has become a major focus, only behind the need for increased resources to provide health care and vocational retraining for individuals with a diagnosis of TBI transitioning to veteran status. The DVBIC reports that veterans may sustain TBIs throughout their lifespan, with the largest increase for veterans in their 70s and 80s. Active duty and reserve service members are at increased risk for sustaining a TBI compared to their civilian peers due to specific demographics of the military. Young men between the ages of 18 to 24 are at greatest risk for TBI later in life when they are in veteran status.

BRAIN INJURY STATISTICS

  • The CDC estimates that nearly 1.7 million people suffer some type of traumatic brain injury each year.
  • TBIs are a factor in over 30 percent of all injury-related deaths.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all TBIs happen in the form of a concussion or other type of mild brain injury.
  • Males are more likely to suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury than females.

COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TBI:

Physical

  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Ringing in the ears

Cognitive

  • Concentration problems
  • Temporary gaps in memory
  • Attention problems
  • Slowed thinking
  • Difficulty finding words

Emotional

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

If it continues to move forward after a review by the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy, the bill would require the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to establish a program registry and waiting list for treatment. The ISDH would also be responsible for maintaining the pilot program.

The Wagner Reese lawyers have assisted hundreds of clients in receiving the compensation they deserve as a result of the head and brain injuries they suffered. In addition to the extreme physical toll brain injuries can take, clients often suffer from emotional trauma, inability to work, memory loss, excessive medical bills, and other factors that make life after a head or brain injury increasingly difficult. The personal injury lawyers of Wagner Reese are well known among insurance companies, opposing defense lawyers and judges for the representation offered to their clients, and the success they have been bringing into the courtroom with them since 1997.

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