Offering Veterans Free Oxygen Treatment for PTSD


hyperbaric chamberText under the heading “Article” is from the article titled, “Oklahoma closer to offering veterans free oxygen treatment for brain injuries, PTSD” which was written by Rebecca Schleicher for Fox 25 KOKH-TV, Oklahoma City. The article and this post will interest anyone who is concerned about our veterans and anyone who wants to know more about hyperbaric therapy as a possible cure for some symptoms of brain injury.


The title caused me to question: 1. Why is Oklahoma the only state mentioned that is considering free treatment for veterans with PTSD? 2. Shouldn’t all veterans automatically receive free treatment, free counseling, and free education regardless of where they live? I don’t understand why there is any debate. 3. Is oxygen therapy the best treatment for PTSD?


Forty thousand veterans in the state with brain injuries could get help for free, if current legislation continues forward. Army Capt. Matt Smothermon remembers the week after his injury as a blur. “In the immediate wake of the blast itself it almost felt like I was drunk the entire time,” he said. Smothermon was in a vehicle hit by three IED’s [Improvised Explosive Devises] in Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

The therapy is not FDA approved, but studies show 100 percent oxygen chambers trigger the brain’s neurons and harness the healing power of oxygen. Advocates say the therapy is better than pills, which can lead to self- treatment and even criminal activity among veterans.

Secretary for Military and Veteran’s Affairs Major Gen. (Ret.) Rita Aragon says of the 3,000 veterans incarcerated in Oklahoma, more than 80 percent tried to self-medicate their symptoms.

“The first treatment their photophobia tends to go away, it’s that light sensitivity that gives them migraine headaches. By the fifth treatment their headaches are generally under control and by the tenth treatment they can sleep through the night,” said Dr. Bill Duncan, the Vice President for Government Affairs of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association.

Duncan also runs a clinic in Oklahoma City that uses hyperbaric therapy to treat veterans, police officers, firefighters and victims of crime for free.

According to a study in the Journal of Neurotrauma, patients recover 15 IQ points on average after treatment. PTSD is reduced by an average of 30 percent, and depression reduced by 51 percent, which leads to a much lower risk of suicide.

Duncan says the program calls for 80 treatments in 150 days. They add up to $25,000 per patient. But he says each injured vet costs the state $60,000 in lost taxes, incarceration and meds.

“If the federal government won’t take care of our troops like we’re supposed to, than we’re going to take care of our own people here in Oklahoma,” said Rep. John Bennett (R- Sallisaw). The bill does not require the state to pay for treatments. Instead, authors plan to fundraise.

Duncan says it’s never too late to treat someone. In fact, his oldest patient was 91 years old.

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.


Call to Action

Please share your thoughts about free medical care for veterans in the comment box below this post.


Click here to read more about hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

Thanks to Rebecca Shleicher for writing the article; Fox 25 KOKH-TV Oklahoma City for committing its resources to sharing the story; Dr. Bill Duncan Vice President for Government Affairs of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association for sharing his opinion; Google for helping me find the article; Creative Commons for helping me find the picture I used in this post; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, helped me include the picture, video or text I used in this post.


  1. I noticed on here that there was help for those who were “victims of crime for free” and this I assume would apply to issues such as Domestic Violence too.The amounts of cost on tax payers for these types of crimes are also very high and may be something that you may also want to consider learning more about. What tax payers are paying for these particular types of crime is a huge financial cost on all of societies tax payers. The money that we use to help these victims is far less than what we are spending now for these types of situations because there are a lot of people who need medical attention, are unable to work, etc. This kind of help may reduce the cost of tax payers from any longer paying out social security at younger ages than expected and they may be able to return to work once again. I think that this is a great opportunity for all of those who need it. Not just for those victims of war that fight for our freedom but also for those who are here at home keeping our country running while our veterans are off protecting our freedom. It is important to me to make the point that all of the above reasons are not only financial gains but also important because it will help to make our country a more self-sufficient place to live in the future. We pay taxes for a better place to live as well as our security.

    1. Angela, the bill to which you are referring, has not yet become a law, so it is impossible to know what is or is not covered. However, the bill in its current form is only for veterans who live in Oklahoma and have been diagnosed by a licensed physician to have PTSD (presumably related to military service, but I don’t know for certain). As I mentioned, the bill is not currently a law.

  2. I am willing to take the risk that this might not work:) I do not have any thing to lose and a lot to gain if it does:) I just emailed u my info:)

    1. David, I received your email. I will call a few places on Monday to confirm the services they say they offer. Are both you and your brother veterans?

  3. I just got out of the Oklahoma VA Hospital yesterday. While in there I heard about this. Nobody there put me in for this. Can u please help me? I would love to do this. I am sick and tired of all the trip there and medicine (medicines that can cause serious damage or be fatal). I would love to at least reduce this toll and burden on my family.

    1. David, I am willing to help you find a treatment center that offers oxygen therapy, but it is possible the therapy will not be covered by insurance or anybody else. Some people swear it works, others swear it does nothing except waste your money. I have seen reports that show the benefits, and I have seen an equal number of reports that show there are no benefits/ Please send an email to to let me know the cities around you if you want me to search for a treatment center. ~ Scott

    1. Nancy, I appreciate the positive feedback, but feel free to tell me if you don’t like a post (as long as you also tell me what I can do to improve the post). ~ Scott

  4. Two issues strike me. The first is whether there’s any proof this will work. That’s not an easy question.

    The second issue is the word “free”. It may be free to the veteran, but certainly not to the system providing the service. If the system provides this service, what other service…. perhaps of proven benefit… might be with held?

    1. Norm,

      You raised two excellent points.

      1. I have read several articles by presumably reputable authors. Some say oxygen therapy is the greatest cure for every symptom of brain injury. Other people say oxygen therapy is nothing more than a placebo. My point is that vets should receive the best therapy which may, or may not, be oxygen therapy.

      2. You are correct. Anything that is free to one group is at the expense of one or more other groups. My belief, and I could be wrong, is that the majority of people are willing to pay a reasonable cost for their freedom.

      Hopefully, the debate in Oklahoma is about the cost of treatment or the effectiveness of oxygen therapy rather than providing vets the treatment they need.

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