Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Supercharges Healing
After being partially paralyzed by encephalitis, a viral infection that goes to the brain, no one could be sure that JeAnnah Powell, a young child who loved to dance, would ever walk again.
However, doctors at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital wanted to try a new technology called the oxygen-giving Hyperbaric Chamber on JeAnnah’s condition.
Previously it had been used to successfully treat patients with such conditions as diabetic ulcers, gangrene and necrosis of soft tissue and bone due to radiation treatments.
The Hyperbaric Chamber looks like a cross between a submarine and a high-speed train car. Patients sit comfortably inside to receive a non-invasive treatment which administers pure oxygen at air pressure that is two to three times higher than external air pressure. It causes the patient’s white blood cells to increase significantly, enhancing the healing process.
JeAnnah and her mother were ready to try anything. “Initially we thought we were going to have to go to the UK for the treatment,” said JeAnnah’s mother, Tami. “I had also heard of a private clinic down in North Carolina.”
But when they learned that the specialized oxygen treatment was available at Detroit Receiving, the Powells pursued it immediately.
“After just a few treatments, JeAnnah began to move,” said Dr. Bob Wilson, chief of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy program at Detroit Receiving Hospital. “She started to walk. And after she finished her treatments she was able to tap dance, which is almost unheard of in people paralyzed by encephalitis. It’s a miracle,” he said.
The specialized oxygen procedure is painless. “It didn’t hurt at all,” said JeAnnah. “Maybe at first it’s a little scary going into that tube, but that’s about it,” she said.
When asked to provide more detail about the procedure, Dr. Wilson said, “When the body senses an area that has no oxygen and an area that has very high oxygen, it tries to build blood vessels from the high-oxygen area to the area without it.
“With this therapy we can make new blood vessels grow into tissue that have been destroyed by X-rays, arteriosclerosis and all kinds of things to make new blood vessels grow and heal things.”
Within just a few weeks JeAnnah was able to walk on her own. “We’re so thankful,” said JeAnnah’s mother. “Everyone at Detroit Receiving just embraced us. They allowed something that hadn’t been done here before to be done.”
The specialized high-oxygen pressure treatment in the Hyperbaric Chamber is available to all qualifying patients at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital.
To connect with doctor at any DMC facility, call 1-888-DMC-2500.