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New PTSD treatment championed by war vet

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Updated: 7/17 6:25 pm

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.

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Ben Richards - 7/18/2014 3:27 AM
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I am a combat veteran and former Army officer who was medically retired because of TBI caused by an Al Wanda suicide bomber and PTSD. I was rated as 'totally and permanently disabled."I was treated with HBOT at a different clinic but with the same protocol. I experienced substantial improvement as well. To my knowledge at leadt 300 and perhaps as many 600 wounded warriors with TBI and/or PTSD have been treated at more than two dozen clinics across the country with the magnitude and rate of success far exceeding any treatment currently available through DOD or the VA. Almost all of these funded through pro-bono care or donation. In Denver alone veteran - supporting non - profits, corporations, and concerned individuals have funded HBOT for 140 wounded warriors. The generosity of doctors like Dr Prince reflects the best of American Society's loyalty, compassion and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the men, women and families that make up our Armed Forces. I cannot adequately express my own gratitude to those people who made possible the return of a husband and father of four children to a family years of little hope that the man they lo ed would ever fully return from war. I am ashamed that the Army that I loved so quickly abandoned me and the soldiers I served with (90 percent of whom were wounded in combat, mostly by IEDs) to such a sadistic and uncaring institution as the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am grateful for those, mostly outside of government, who are working so hard to fill the gap. Thank you. Major (Retd.) Ben Richards
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