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James Reddick plays with his sons Xavier
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Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflect

James Reddick plays with his sons Xavier "Ping-Ping" and Paul-Alexander "Juicy" Reddick on Nov. 9, 2015. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

Vets fight for oxygen therapy

By Michael Abramowitz

The Daily Reflector

1 Comment | Leave a Comment

James Reddick is convinced that dumping the pills his Veterans Administration doctors prescribed for his combat injuries and replacing them with pure oxygen changed his life. VA leaders insist Reddick and his civilian doctors are wrong and will not prescribe oxygen therapy for him or any other veterans.

In a battle that has lasted nearly a decade, the Defense Department and VA continue to repel the efforts of many medical researchers ­— and some members of Congress — who say rigorous scientific study has proven the safe benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The therapy replaces the air inside a chamber with pure oxygen under controlled pressure monitored by trained technicians under a doctor’s supervision.

The normal course of treatment consists of about 80 hourlong sessions, according to Dr. Paul Harch, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Louisiana State University who specializes in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Harch is an outspoken proponent of the therapy and has had several published research studies, including 2012 and 2015 studies of low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy for blast-induced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart