Veto another setback for Sen. Rogers

Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff)/Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

By Peter Aleshire|Payson Roundup 

Senator Wendy Rogers is having a rough year.

Gov. Doug Ducey exercised his first-ever line-item budget veto to kill one of the few bills the freshman senator has managed to move through the legislature.

The bill would have set aside $3.6 million so the Department of Veterans’ Services could buy equipment needed to provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy for veterans.

The therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. It was developed to treat deep sea divers who surfaced too fast, causing bubbles of nitrogen to form in their bloodstream. It’s also used to treat serious infections and wounds that don’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury. The chambers create air pressure that’s two or three times normal — ensuring patients absorb a lot more oxygen in each lungful of air. This helps the body fight bacteria and stimulates the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy/about/pac-20394380).

Rogers said the chamber would help veterans. “It has been found to be efficacious, helpful in curing post-traumatic stress syndrome.” Rogers is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and pilot, according to a report by Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for PTSD remains under study. Some studies have shown an effect, but an analysis of multiple studies led the National Institutes of Health to conclude that the therapy “does not lead to short-term improvements in post-concussion and PTSD symptoms compared to sham (simulated treatment). Sparse longer-term evidence suggests symptom improvements after HBOY is not durable.”

The National Institutes of Health concluded the treatment can reduce mortality and coma severity in cases of traumatic brain injury, but may not improve “longer-term functionality.”

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