Fighting for Debra

Written by Paul Fairchild in the October 2008 Issue

In 1992, Debra Simmons stared down the barrel of a death sentence. Diagnosed with fatal liver failure, doctors gave her less than two years to live. Her doctor laid it on the line: get a liver transplant or else. She hustled to get herself on the already overcrowded list.

Roy and Vicki Jones, owners of Edmond Hyperbarics, clued Simmons in to a medical technology called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). She soon found herself in Olney, Texas at a manufacturing facility of hyperbaric chambers.
“By 2003 my condition was awful,” says Simmons, “I couldn’t lead a normal life. I couldn’t make plans to go anywhere because I didn’t know how I’d feel on any given day. Many days I couldn’t even perform basic household chores. I was invited to Texas for HBOT and my life changed. I now have a teenage son that I’m able to home-school. My condition is much improved, and while I’ll require regular treatments for a long time, I’m grateful to lead a normal, everyday life.”

With the improvement of her liver condition, Simmons voluntarily removed herself from the liver transplant list.
Vicki and Roy Jones had to find HBOT themselves. They were devastated when their 8-year-old daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome and autism. There seemed to be no hope for Katie’s recovery. Ten years ago the medical community just wasn’t up to speed on illnesses like Katie’s.

Roy describes his reaction to the diagnosis as harrowing.

“The first response I had was the fight or flight mentality. How do I fight this? What do I do to knock it down? What do I do to fight this thing that came and stole my baby’s mind in the middle of the night? She could speak at one time. In the span of a month that was gone. I wanted the autism out of her.”

Katie, a sweet girl of 18 and the inspiration for Edmond Hyperbarics, possesses the mental faculties of an 8-year-old. Not available as a treatment for Katie’s condition at the time of her diagnosis, Roy and Vicki had no idea that a possible therapy, hyperbarics, was out there.

After doing her research, Vicki decided that HBOT might be beneficial to Katie. The technique’s non-invasive nature means that there’s no down side to trying it. It might help a little bit and it might help a lot, but the one thing it won’t do is hurt the patient or worsen the patient’s condition.

After seeing improvement in Katie after these treatments, Vicki and Roy made the decision to bring HBOT to Oklahoma City. After shuttling Katie to Tulsa for HBOT, Vicki felt strongly that it was time to bring HBOT to the Oklahoma City metro area.

“There are some things we can’t help, but pushing out some of the patient’s toxins, waking up those nerves, seeing the improvements in such a wide variety of patients suffering from such a wide range of illnesses - that’s what inspired us. There are only two clinics available in Tulsa. We said to ourselves that it’s time to bring this to Oklahoma City.”
Roy concurs, underscoring the number of potential HBOT benefactors in the Oklahoma City Metro Area.


“There are approximately 80,000 kids in Oklahoma suffering from illnesses like Katie’s. At that level you can assume that a lot of those kids live in the Oklahoma City area. They need access to this treatment.”

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treats more than a dozen illnesses and injuries, from crush injury and anemia to skin grafts and burns. Its potential for treating illnesses such as autism is a recent discovery

HBOT found its first uses in naval medicine. For years the treatment helped divers with decompression sickness (the bends). Decades passed before the medical community began exploring other uses.

HBOT, a painless and noninvasive technique that helps the body heal itself in a variety of trauma situations, provides an alternative to traditional, invasive medical treatments. Patients sit in a comfortable chamber that pressurizes the air around them. The chamber delivers 100% oxygen during treatments. And oxygen is the fuel of life.

Oxygen under pressure transitions to a medicine of sorts, encouraging cell reconstruction and the boosting of the body’s natural immune system. Some illnesses and injuries treated with only 35 to 40 treatments at an HBOT center can permanently change body tissues. New blood vessels are grown, also accelerating the delivering of oxygen to the body. Swelling and inflammation are reduced and toxins and metabolic wastes are removed from the system, giving the body a better chance of healing itself.

Roy is full of interesting statistics about HBOT and he loves to share them with interested patients.

“After a single HBOT the number of lymphocytes in a patient’s system doubles.”

That in itself is a significant help to the body. Lymphocytes are critical components of the body’s immune system.
The word about HBOT’s success is getting around. The offices of Edmond Hyperbarics are sparse - the furnishings match a typical start-up perfectly. But a quick trip to the hyperbarics room proves that this is a serious therapy with a lot of demand. The phone at Edmond Hyperbarics never stops ringing. Roy and Vicki take turns talking to potential customers about the benefits of HBOT.

In addition to Katie’s improvements with HBOT, Vicki has seen other HBOT cases with impressive results.

“I saw a 22-month old who couldn’t use his hands, had no eye contact and couldn’t sit up by himself. Newborns could do more than him. Other side effects, such as swallowing problems, plagued him as well. After seven one-hour treatments with HBOT he could lift his head like a newborn, shake his hands and his eye contact was restored. Before the HBOT there was nothing there.”

Hyperbarics may not work for everybody. And it may soon find its way to a wider acceptance by the medical community. Regardless, its painless, noninvasive nature makes it worth a try - for combating a number of illnesses.

For more information on Edmond Hyperbarics, see its website at www.edmondhyperbarics.com.

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