The First 24 hours
If you are reading this because your child, or the child of a loved one, has recently drowned, please, contact Dr. Paul Harch, LSU School of Medicine, immediately. (www.hbot.com) Dr. Harch can provide guidance on stopping the reperfusion injury to the brain and rebuilding the damaged brain.
In our experience, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is the most powerful tool for combating hypoxic/anoxic brain injury from drowning.
If you are in a hospital that has HBOT available and is willing to treat your child, and you cannot reach Dr. Harch, please request that they follow the HBOT protocol for Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. While a stronger dose may be indicated, this is a protocol that is widely understood (as it is typically reimbursed) and is better than nothing.
Although HBOT is a 360-year old treatment, most doctors are ignorant of it or do not accept that it is efficacious for brain injury. Some of the research can be viewed here.
When a child gets a cold or the flu we give them 3-4 days to ‘get over it’. When a child breaks an arm we give them a month to heal. It is our experience that with a brain injury, the medical community wants to begin making life and death decisions within days. Brains take time to heal! An MRI or Spect image is only a snapshot of the brain at the moment it was taken. You must be strong for your child! Have faith and fight. If the hospital tries to do something you don’t understand, ask them to wait while you do research. If your research leads you to believe that the proposed treatment is not in your child’s best interest you can say, “No.” If the hospital refuses to provide care that you believe will benefit your child insist that they put that refusal in writing.
Robert’s records indicate his initial Glaskow Coma Score was a 1. Neuro was touching the surface of Robert’s eye with gauze and getting no reaction! His MRI showed profound gray and white matter damage. On the tenth day after Robert drowned it was recommended that we medicate Robert and let him ‘pass’. Robert was not an ‘easy case’.
HBOT is powerful medicine. This was Robert after 37 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. This was the best they could do with drugs and therapy. His back was bent like this for 27 days!
This was a week later, after TWO HBOT dives. His back is straight!
The end of the first week of HBOT treatment (five dives). He’s straight and laughing!
Fourteen months after drowning.
There is hope.
If you cannot obtain early HBOT intervention do not lose hope. Robert had to wait 41 days to get his first HBOT treatment and the results were still profound. In the mean time you can be doing other things to preserve and heal the brain. These include fish oil, normobaric oxygen therapy and diet.