Curt Allen, Jr. was a 17 year old man who was involved in a high speed motor vehicle accident in June, 2004, in which he sustained severe traumatic brain injury. Curt was in a coma at the scene of the accident. He was admitted to an acute care hospital, underwent brain surgery to relieve pressure and placed in the ICU in critical condition. After one month he was transferred to a highly regarded post-acute brain injury rehabilitation center in Southeast Louisiana where he remained for 3 months. During these three months he made such minimal progress that he was discharged as a failure of standard intensive traumatic brain injury therapy. The day before discharge from this center his mother attended a local church where she asked the priest to request that the congregation pray for her son’s recovery. After the priest fulfilled this request during Mass Mrs. Allen was approached by a physician patient of mine to whom I had delivered low-pressure HBOT years before for his stroke and subsequent traumatic brain injury. My patient referred Mrs. Allen to me and the following week Curt was evaluated at my clinic.
The video you will view records the astounding recovery that Curt made as he underwent a course of HBOT. The segments of the video were edited from the running VHS tape I recorded of Curt’s progress beginning 4 months after his severe traumatic brain injury through 89 HBOT’s. Since the voices on the tape are hard to discern in places and Curt is speaking in hushed tones the following narrative accompanies each segment on the tape...
October 2004 Post Brain Sugery
3.5 Monthes after starting HBOT
9 Months after Dismissal from Rehab
for Failure to Improve
1. Introduction. This is the day of evaluation, 4 months after injury. Curt is in red shirt and black shorts, sitting in a wheelchair, has a vacant stare when his eyes are open, and is unresponsive to any of my commands or requests. Notice how he is unable to follow the light. He is on no medication. This segment is about 1.5 minutes long.
2. After 36 HBOT’s. This is two months after beginning HBOT and six months after injury. Curt is in a red shirt with blue floral patterned shorts. Two weeks before this taping Curt began to interact and respond to my hyperbaric technician Sean Bal’s banter with occasional laughter and an understanding of spoken language. By the time of this taping Curt was animated, bright-eyed, interactive, and clearly a different person. The light bulb had turned on. However, as we moved him into a room for his repeat video examination and I remarked about his amazing transformation he became inexplicably extremely lethargic. The tape segment starts with his quick glance up at me as we turn on the camera and then he drops his head. It is about 27 seconds long.
3. After 36 HBOT’s. This segment is from the same session as #2. After Curt resisted every one of my attempts to get him to follow commands or respond to requests I proceed to checking his deep tendon reflexes. I am pictured here at Curt’s feet and while I am testing his reflexes I look up and notice that while his head is down he is smiling and almost laughing at me and my failure to get him to demonstrate his noticeable neurological improvement. This segment is 24 seconds long.
4. After 36 HBOT’s. We are still at the same exam session and I finally give up on trying to get Curt to cooperate. I declare that we are going to quit and I have Sean turn off the camera. Immediately, Curt pops up like a “Jack-in-the-box” laughing at me that he has tricked me through this entire exam. Not only was he cognitively improved he was improved so much as to be able to play a joke on me after telling him the importance of recording his improvement on tape. This segment is 41 seconds long.
5. Pre-42nd HBOT. This is 3.5 months after starting HBOT and 7.5 months post injury. Curt is in a long sleeve blue shirt and plaid pants. He finished 40 HBOT’s, went home for 5 weeks for Christmas and now returns for additional HBOT. During this Christmas break he continued to improve and now is able to speak. This segment begins with my interview of Curt and once again he is playing with me as he deliberately tells me his last name is the same as his first name, then laughs uproariously. The segment lasts a little over a minute and is followed by a 15 second clip where he is following the light. Compare this to the same exam before HBOT during his initial evaluation.
6. Before the 80th HBOT. This is 6 months after the onset of HBOT and 10 months after injury. Curt is in a blue T-shirt and blue jeans. He is completing his second set of 40 HBOT’s and is now conversant. He tells me that he is walking and trying to drive. I remark that I hope he is not driving yet. He is also eating by mouth and no longer using the feeding tube that I point to on his abdomen. His ability to converse astounds all of us. The segment concludes with Curt following the light and is about one minute and 14 seconds.
7. Before the 80th HBOT. Same taping session as #6. I conclude the session with a 32 second clip of Curt rising from his wheelchair and then walking with his walker.
8. Before the 81St HBOT. Curt is now 8 months after starting HBOT and 12 months after his injury. He is in a black shirt and gray pants. He took a two month break after the 80th HBOT and the video clip in #7. There is a 43 second interview where he tells me he is talking too much and too fast, despite appearing to be rather subdued and quiet. This is followed by a 21 second segment showing his gait before I deliver some more HBOT.
9. After the 89th HBOT. Curt is now 9 months after starting HBOT and 13 months after his injury. Curt is in a red shirt and black shorts. This begins with a 12 second interview in which he tells me that in the last few weeks after just 9 additional HBOT’s he is walking more. There is a final 15 second clip of his gait which is slightly improved and more fluid than the gait in segment 8. This concludes the tape.
Since the last session in #9 Curt has had no further HBOT. He has continued to improve. I was able to re-examine him one year after segment #9. He was the brightest I had seen him and was walking much better. At the time of the release of the Oxygen Revolution 34 months after Curt’s injury, Curt’s mother, Fran Allen, called me to report that Curt has found employment and is doing very well.