Monday, August 16, 2010

TBI: Should HBOT Be Limited To Clinical Trials?

Occasionally a news reporter surprises us by actually doing her job and doing the hard work of journalism. Take a lesson from Palm Beach Post staff writer Lona O'Connor, who takes the time and effort to help us understand the people, facts, and points-of-view in last week's story: "Therapist using hyperbaric chamber to help Iraq/Afghan vets cope with brain disorder."

Most reporters would have run with the publicity feed and focused exclusively on the injured vets. This story manages to take in all the human drama of their story, while questioning the wisdom of seeking pro bono treatment by a physical therapist, without disrespecting the vets or the physical therapist. She also interviews (1) a local traumatic brain injury expert, who rightly drains some of the feel-good out of the piece by citing the current evidence, and (2) a VA physician, who speaks for the clinical trials now under way. Money quote:

There are many human conditions we don't have the answers for. You don't help people just because you feel bad for them. You have to do something that's safe but isn't going to make them worse. And if something bad happens, what's he going to fall back on?

The article also introduces us to another HBOT center, Crallé Physical Therapy and Oxygen Rescue Care Centers of America (ORCCA), Delray Beach FL. Our best wishes for them and their selfless work. Still, like the VA doc quoted above, we'd much rather see these brave patients in the hands of board-certified physicians conducting peer-reviewed clinical investigations in collaboration with a military or academic medical center.

(Photo credit: Richard Graulich, Palm Beach Post)

O2.o is the news blog of HyperbaricLink, the independent web guide to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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