Veterans receive life-changing help with PTSD in Oklahoma

Veterans receive life-changing help with PTSD in Oklahoma

Posted: Updated:
Veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries are getting the help they need for free in the Sooner State thanks to a new treatment that treats the cause instead of the symptoms.

Sgt. Chris Gregg's first taste of combat in the first Gulf War when he fought start to finish in Kuwait.

"Kuwait was invaded on the second of August and I was there on the 10th of August," Gregg said. "I was there until the completion of the war."

Ten years later, it was déjà vu as he returned to Kuwati.

"I was reliving some of the things I had done in the first Gulf War, breathing in oil to the point where you're spitting it up, seeing some of the places where we'd seen, you know, destroyed bodies, not just people that have died but mutilated bodies," Sgt. Gregg said. "After returning home, that's when everything really started to fall apart."

Gregg was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Years of pills and even electro-shock therapy didn't help. In fact, things got so bad, he considered ending it all.

"It's extremely hard to say you're suicidal, so I'd say its around five times that I was suicidal," Sgt. Gregg said.

For Sgt. Gregg, one of his worst experiences was when he was seeking help at Oklahoma City's VA hospital.

"The VA doctor told me he didn't have room for me. I got upset, kicked over his trash can, and as we were walking out of the building, their security threw me on the ground, and they put me in jail," Sgt. Gregg said. "It was just another one of those trips where you're at the end of your rope and when you get turned away. Where was I supposed to go?"

For Dr. William Duncan with the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation, Gregg's story hits close to home. One of his closest family members went through the same thing.

"He was a Navy corpsman serving in the Marines he was discharged from service and he ended up living in the bedroom in the dark for the next two years," Dr. Duncan said.

Then Dr. Duncan discovered hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It's commonly used for burn victims and diabetic patients but doctors say it can treat PTSD and traumatic brain injuries too.

Dr. Stephen Gick works at the Patriot Clinic and he says the benefits can't be denied.

"The evidence is evidence-based medicine, there's no doctor who actually reads through that literature that can say this is not an acceptable, medical, this works its black and white now," Dr. Gick said. "So the oxygen can bring back the function of these injured areas.

Dr. Gick said the key is the way the treatment works.

"We're treating the cause of the symptom, not the symptom," Dr. Gick said.

This year, Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to approve this treatment for veterans. The new law creates a payment system, based solely on donations raised by Dr. Duncan's group. The International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation hopes to treat 5,000 veterans each year.

"These men and women their lives have fallen apart and we only have a few years to rescue them," Dr. Duncan said. "Basically two years their lives are shattered. It will restore hope it will reduce the suicide rate because there is hope."

Right now, veterans like Gregg can go to the Patriot Clinic where it's always open and always free.

"They told me to come up on a Sunday said come on in we'll take care of ya," Gregg said. "So to be able to finally find a place like this that said come and we'll treat you  period has been incredible."

So far, Gregg has had 18 treatments He says one of his biggest problems is already gone.

"For the first time in 12 years, I'm not taking any sleeping meds so that's been a huge relief, just right there"

Now, he's looking forward to his future free from the pain left behind by war.

"I'm just excited to see what all can happen," Gregg said. "I'm more comfortable, I feel better about life, the sky's the limit  

We're talking more about treatments that help veterans on Thursday during our Town Hall Caring for Veterans meeting. Click here for more information and to join the discussion.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Two people discovered dead in southwest Oklahoma City

    Two people discovered dead in southwest Oklahoma City

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:50:16 GMT
    The Oklahoma City Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two people in the 3700 block of SW 44th St.
    The Oklahoma City Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two people in the 3700 block of SW 44th St.
  • Pressure to breastfeed backfires for some moms

    Pressure to breastfeed backfires for some moms

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:40:07 GMT
    We all know that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for both baby and mom. But what happens when new moms can't make it work? A new small study suggests the public pressure to nurse is so strong that it's contributing to postpartum depression in women who are struggling to breastfeed.
    We all know that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for both baby and mom. But what happens when new moms can't make it work? A new small study suggests the public pressure to nurse is so strong that it's contributing to postpartum depression in women who are struggling to breastfeed.
  • Shawnee police officers witness elderly woman being carjacked, arrest suspect

    Shawnee police officers witness elderly woman being carjacked, arrest suspect

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:39 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:39:35 GMT
    Shawnee Police say Joseph Nichols was arrested while trying to carjack an elderly woman Sunday.Shawnee Police say Joseph Nichols was arrested while trying to carjack an elderly woman Sunday.
    For the second time this summer, a woman in Shawnee is the victim of an attempted carjacking and once again, the suspect didn't get away with the crime.
    For the second time this summer, a woman in Shawnee is the victim of an attempted carjacking and once again, the suspect didn't get away with the crime.
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.