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VETERANS REPORT: Oxygen therapy may offer alternative to DOD and VA treatments

The Veterans Administration treats patients using traditional, standard and long-established medical practices. As science progresses, the VA does move forward, albeit slower than some would like. In advance of the VA, private physicians, registered nurses, licensed and other medical practitioners offer natural, organic and medical-related services to veterans and others. Many are profit-related, and many are nonprofit, although even the latter require some income to keep the doors open. And the doors for one company are not yet open, but the CEO said she is weeks away from finalizing long-term leases for two properties.

Brand new to the Southern Nevada landscape is the health-science firm Pay It Forward Network, which has partnered with several nonprofit groups and is headed by self-styled local humanitarian Janet Franco. Her organization is affiliated with the nonprofit International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation, among others. She said that an age-old rejuvenation technique that incorporates hyperbaric oxygen therapy is designed to help many ailments, including lack of oxygen due to traumatic brain injuries in veterans who have experienced negative symptoms due to wartime explosive blasts.

"Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy enhances and accelerates medical treatments by bringing much-needed oxygen to areas of the body for organic rejuvenation," Franco said. "The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration have both just begun to learn more about this technique," she added. "We've offered information to the Senate Armed Services Committee, but it's been very slow going." She said she has also made presentations to several Nevada elected officials and they are reviewing the process. As with most alternative medical procedures, there is a disclaimer that accompanies treatment. The statements about hyperbaric benefits do not constitute medical recommendations and have not been endorsed by the Federal Drug Administration or other government agencies.

Franco said she has been doing volunteer work for non-profit groups for many years, and not long ago she was introduced to Stephen Reimers, who she said is a Navy veteran conducting research into general brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders in military personnel. "He and his company have done more studies about this than anyone else," she said. "Over time he has developed a chamber that saturates the body's tissues with oxygen and reaches damaged areas that lack blood supplies and oxygen." She said it takes about 80 such treatments -- two consistent dives of 40 each, with a month or two between treatments -- to provide clinically significant recovery, and many veterans have been treated pro bono in order to substantiate claims that the process works. They not only achieved significant progress, but many have also successfully returned to active duty in the military, she noted.

Printed literature that Franco readily supplies attests to claims made by many veterans of the success of the procedure. For example, Brig. Gen. Patt Maney reports in the brochures that he was helped after unsuccessful conventional treatment. And Iraq War veteran Major Ben Richards (Ret. Army) is quoted as saying he has made progress in overcoming TBI.

But navigating health care techniques and affording them can be daunting. Neither the VA nor Medicare will pay for such treatments. However Franco said she is preparing to open two facilities, one being the for-profit Project Neon (but with a nonprofit quadrant that will have her donating a percentage of net sales toward veterans' treatment) and a secondary fully nonprofit. The latter will be called Imagine N.O.W. (Nurturing Our Warriors). She said the latter will offer free treatments to qualified veterans, although donations will be accepted.

Franco said she has also teamed with energy drink company Visalus International that produces the thirst quencher NEON. She said the company has agreed to donate a portion of its sales profits to the N.O.W. center. She said she has also aligned with the nonprofit National Exchange Club to aid in raising funds to help pay for free veterans' treatments. And she is currently hosting a weekly a radio show on KDWN-AM each Tuesday from 9-10 a.m. on which she interviews medical experts and patients who embrace her modalities. To further add to her bona fides, she said she has met with members of the Nevada judicial system and plans to accept non-violent suspects whom judges will refer to her for hyperbaric treatment, in lieu of being incarcerated. "They'll have a choice of going to jail or going to Janet," Franco quipped. For more information call (800) 206-1082 or go to Imaginenow2015.com.

Chuck N. Baker is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient. Every other Sunday he discusses veterans' issues over several Lotus Broadcasting AM radio stations in Southern Nevada.


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