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State lawmakers working to get hyperbaric treatment more readily available for Kentucky veterans

Veterans PTSD
Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 31, 2022

(LEX 18) — State lawmakers are pushing Kentucky's congressional delegation to make changes they believe will benefit veterans and save lives.

45 years after serving in Vietnam, Eric Koleda's brother-in-law learned he had a traumatic brain injury.

"We tried to get him in the hyperbarics in Kentucky, and he was denied access to the chambers," Koleda said.

He couldn't get the treatment he wanted. Koleda couldn't believe it.

"This just isn't right," Koleda said. "Here's a treatment that's helping veterans, and they are being denied access into the chamber."

"It sent Koleda on a mission to make the treatment available to veterans. Hyperbaric chambers utilize oxygen as medicine.

"It's saving lives, and it's helping veterans have some level of normalcy of where they were before they went into climate."

He says they have clinical trials to prove how the treatment helps veterans.

"We're seeing dissipation of some of the symptoms of TBI veterans, so the anxiety levels, the fear migraine headaches, the lack of sleepiness all begins dissipating as this goes through the treatments," he said.

Koleda says veterans currently have to pay out of pocket for the treatment. He says that's because the federal government doesn't recognize it. Kentucky state representative Chris Fugate wants that to change.

"For those veterans who have served and have suffered these injuries, they can never turn it off," said Fugate. "They can never turn off the post-traumatic stress syndrome."

He co-sponsored legislation that would call on Kentucky's congressional representation to make a change. He believes it will pass.

"If you go back to the sacrifice they make, we owe it to them, it's our responsibility to take care of those who take care of us, and so they shouldn't have to undergo a financial burden," said Fugate.

A burden he believes should go away.

Learn more about the treatment here.