ALBANY, N.Y. – A not-yet approved treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was championed by an Iraqi War veteran.
PTSD was a major concern at the New York State American Legion conference at the Desmond Hotel Thursday. Many spoke in support of an oxygen treatment that isn’t yet approved by the FDA.
“Just that I know that this can help so many other people – it needs to be,” Iraq War veteran Matthew Scanapico said.
Scanapico said he is emotional on the subject because he knows too many other veterans who aren’t getting help. He said drugs just kept him in a cycle.
“It needs to be done,” he said. “We need these treatments. We need to stop messing around, and like, just do them. Like, it’s helping me. I know it’s helping me.”
He said before taking hyperbaric oxygen treatment, he could not talk about what happened in combat nor sleep nor function. He said he can now rationally think about what happened during battle instead of suppressing his feelings.
“It was an IED attack, and it hit our first vehicle,” he recalled. “We had nine killed and six wounded, and these were guys I was trained with and lived with for years. Did everything together.”
Dr. Henry Prince of Long Island is currently treating Scanapico. He said the brain needs extra oxygen to heal when there is trauma. Scarnapico’s veteran’s affairs psychiatrist wrote a letter acknowledging the treatment works, and it could help others.
“I feel so passionate about it, everybody needs to do this and for it to not be standard – it’s deplorable,” Scarnapico said.
The facility on Long Island is offering free treatment to veterans, but since it’s not FDA approved, the VA isn’t sending them patients.