Florida Makes HBOT Available to Veterans:
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Florida Makes HBOT Available to Veterans: Funded Research from the University of South Florida/Tampa

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April 28, 2024
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The University of South Florida and the State of Florida will be conducting a clinical study on the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to help heal brain wounds caused by mild-moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The treatments will be free to Veterans and will be conducted in Tampa, Florida.


Thanks to the leadership of Republican Speaker of the Florida legislature Paul Renner and the efforts of FL legislators BG Patt Maney (USA, ret), himself a recipient of this life-altering therapy, and SEN Tom Wright, Florida passed House Bill 501 which became effective on July 1, 2019. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was among the five alternative treatment options specified in the legislation. CS/CS/HB 501 created a $200,000 pilot program focused on treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries in veterans using alternative therapies. It expands available therapies for eligible veterans to include accelerated resolution therapy, equine therapy, music therapy, service animal training therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy at registered facilities.

There are an estimated 67,936 TBI/PTSD Veterans in the state. Lack of effective care costs FL taxpayers an estimated $3.8 billion annually. This neglect contributes to 562 Veteran suicides in FL per year, and an additional 5,236 Veterans with opioid use disorder. This is one part of the 877,450 service members with untreated brain wounds, which costs the nation over $118 Billion each year, along with untold suffering. The estimated total cost of NOT treating those brain-wounded will be $4.7 Trillion.

Preliminary efforts using TreatNOW Coalition clinics (www.treatnow.org) confirmed what 21 clinical trials around the world, including five DoD/VA/Army studies, demonstrated: HBOT is safe and effective at helping heal brain wounds. Over twelve years, those clinics have successfully treat over 31,000 patients with TBI/PTSD/Concussion, among them over 12,000 Veterans and over 700 Special Operations Warriors, active duty and retired.

“Brain Wound” is the accurate description of assaults on the brain caused by BLAST injury, falls, training accidents, Concussion, strokes, and a variety of neurological disorders. In 2008, the RAND Corporation published Invisible Wounds of War.

We have learned so much more in 15 years about brain wounds, specifically about the physiological damage done to the brain and all body systems from BLAST injuries. A brain wound is so much more that a mental health issue. The Army demonstrated within the last five years that combat-caused PTSD is likely in many instances to be the result of undiagnosed brain injury. Even though science had explained for over 100 years that physical damage is done to the brain, we now have astonishing imaging capability and a growing body of scientific evidence that shows definitively the results of using oxygen under pressure to treat those physical injuries to the brain. 

Sadly, billions of dollars are spent on only treating symptoms of those wounds, using drugs, talk therapy, and a huge array of interventions to help Veterans and active duty service members adjust to their “new normal.” This failed standard of care contributes to the increasing suicide rate among the military and Veterans, as many as 146,000 suicides since 9/11. This upward trend lead both DoD and the VA to say that Suicide Prevention is their #1 clinical priority, yet they will not use HBOT as part of a treatment strategy. It remains a puzzle to HBOT clinicians around the world why HBOT would not be used, particularly when HBOT has been shown to virtually eliminate suicidal ideation.

These facts have led ten states to pass their own legislation calling for the use of HBOT to treat TBI/PTSD: OK, TX, IN, AZ, KY, FL, NC, MD, WY, and VA. A half dozen other states are contemplating legislation. Florida leads the way with continuing and increasing success in giving Veterans what is owed: a Quality of Life as close to normal as possible after service and sacrifice.

The USF study is set to begin in late July 2024 for up to 500 patients. Eligible Veterans should apply quickly as the treatments will be free, with a stipend for participation. Eligibility criteria include a diagnosed mild-to-moderate TBI, and ability and grit to spend 1-2 months in Tampa for a round of forty HBOT treatments. Details will be explained upon application. Follow-up visits for blood work and further brain imaging will also be required.

For program information, Contact:

Joseph Dituri, Ph.D., CDR, US Navy Saturation Diving Officer (ret) a.k.a Dr. Deep Sea

Assistant Vice President for Veteran’s Clinical Research, University of South Florida

Assistant Professor of Practice – Morsani College of Medicine, University of South FL

Associate Professor – Medical Engineering, University of South Florida

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair

Morsani College of Medicine

Chairman, Florida Chapter of The Explorers Club FN-‘14

Guiness Book World Record holder and U.S. Patent Holder

Executive Director, International Board of Undersea Medicine

Phone: +1 202-642-3483

Twitter: @drdeepsea

Instagram: @drdeepsea

Linked In: www.linkedin.com/pub/joseph-dituri/9/978/509

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