Sentara Dr. encouraging patients to try hyperbaric oxygen chamber

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by Lucy Bustamante, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 15 at 7:01 PM

SUFFOLK -- Hyperbaric oxygen chambers have been used to save divers from too much nitrogen in their bodies, but now one specialist is encouraging other patients to give it a try.

Dr. Harvey Bercowitz is a hyperbaric specialist at Sentara Obici in Suffolk.  He believes the oxygen chamber stimulates the body to heal people's injuries.

Ron Preddy breathes in a huge dose of oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber twice a week for 90 minutes.

Bercowitz says it's15 times the amount of oxygen that's normally in a person's blood.

Preddy says he got huge sores in his mouth from radiation treatments for stage four throat cancer.

Since starting the hyperbaric chamber treatment, he's gone from taking 23 pain pills a day to just two and his wounds are almost gone.

"It's incredible.  I feel so much better. A different man," says Preddy.

Dr. Bercowitz says doctors need to know this can work for any patient who has wounds that don't want to heal.

"It's newsworthy because it is an extremely under utilized therapy," says Bercowitz.

Dr. Bercowitz says the chamber is doing more than just treating symptoms like you do with drugs.

"They may improve the symptoms, they may improve the pain, but they don't heal. This is healing therapy and I think that's the big difference," said Bercowitz.

Bercowitz suggests you ask your primary care physician about a referral to any of the four hyperbaric centers in the area.  He says this treatment is covered by medicare.

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