HBOT Revisited: Fighting for Your Rights as a Healthcare Consumer

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Clinical Therapies
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Recently, I shared a link on Facebook about the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)—specifically, how it can help a wide range of injuries and conditions from burns, psoriasis, and stroke to brain trauma and heart issues—and I got quite a story in return.

Sharmyn B. wrote to tell me how her daughter’s entire life was dramatically improved by HBOT. Yet, since the FDA wasn’t on board, she had to foot the entire expense out-of-pocket.  

Here’s what she wrote:
 
“When my daughter was 2, she had viral encephalopathy which left her severely brain damaged and blind. She was in a vegetative state and had a tracheotomy and g-tube [gastric feeding tube]. We took her for 40 sessions of HBOT and she regained her sight, became mobile again, no more trach, or g-tube. She still has a learning disability and a little speech impediment but if you didn’t know any better you would think that she was a normal 13-year-old.
 
At the time (and this still maybe the case) the FDA did not approve HBOT for TBI (traumatic brain injuries) so we had to pay out of pocket (and it was not cheap). It is not a cure-all, but it has definitely given my little one a better quality of life.”
 
What started as a thread about the health benefits of HBOT quickly turned into a larger discussion about fighting for your rights as a health care consumer. (By the way, HBOT still is not approved by FDA for traumatic brain injuries.) 

I think we all should take a page out of Sharmyn’s book, which is to say that each one of us needs to be our own best advocate for our health (and that of our loved ones).

When I said as much in a comment back to Sharmyn on the same thread, she gave some even better advice:

“I would implore anyone to do their research as it was advised by the head of neurology that we not do this. He and his colleagues were shocked that she was able to get out of her wheelchair and start walking. (I just brought the wheelchair to the appointment for the effect. She had not been using it for months.)”

The fact that HBOT isn’t widely available says nothing about its utility as a healing therapy. In fact, for some people, it is lifesaving. Unfortunately, HBOT’s limited use in conventional medicine also makes access a problem for many, but that doesn’t mean you should take “no” for an answer. 

Now it’s your turn:
Have you ever paid out of pocket for an unconventional treatment that did you a world of good?
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