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Dr. Paul Harch Nominated for William Fields Caveness Award

Paul G. Harch M.D. for His Outstanding Work With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy



JULY 2014

Nomination Criteria:

                        In the 38 years since Dr. Paul Harch graduated from the University of California Magna Cum Laude, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, his life’s work has been dedicated to the essence of the hippocratic oath, in particular in the case of this award: “… give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law….”. 

                        When a serious accident prevented him from becoming a surgeon, Dr. Harch began the pursuit of a new dream to restore hope, and the lives of those whose catastrophic wounds to the brain had rendered them dysfunctional, to family and society.  This work, accomplished through the initial application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to chronic cerebral decompression illness, has now resulted in successful treatment of multiple chronic neurological disorders, the most prominent being traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder.  As the success from this work has unfolded Dr. Harch has, despite having overcome great difficulties and significant personal expense, relentlessly pursued and published results in a vast array of medical journals, book chapters, congressional hearings and documents.  The most recent compilation of this compelling discourse being found in the book “The Oxygen Revolution” published in 2010.

                        Dr. Harch’s success in treating brain injury was based on the pioneering work of Dr. Richard Neubauer and later Dr. Keith Van Meter, whose combined leadership in treating multiple sclerosis and decompression illness led to Dr. Harch’s understanding that these conditions were in fact ischemic brain injury, not residual gas.  This finding was reinforced by two following cases in which HBOT resulted in a complete recovery of neurological function, confirmed by SPECT brain blood flow improvement.  In the mid 1990’s Dr. Harch completed the only demonstration of improvement of chronic brain injury in animals in the history of science. The study showed improvement in spatial learning in rats and a significant increase in hippocampus vascular density, replicating human experience previously seen in boxers and other brain injured patients. These results led to the Perfusion /Metabolism Encephalopathy Study under the auspices of the JoEllen Smith Medical Center Institutional Review Board. In 1999 the study confirmed success in treating a variety of chronic neurological diseases and included the first North American report of success treating cerebral palsy. Dr. Harch’s ongoing work in treating cerebral palsy was reported at the First International Symposium on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Brain Injured Child in July 1999.

                        Because of his work Dr. Harch has been invited on repeated occasions to present his research to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education and Rep. Dan Burton’s Government Oversight Committee. In addition, in 2010 Dr. Harch provided: Testimony for the Record: Effective Treatment Exists for Mild-Moderate TBI & PTSD, to a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress.  

                        While accomplishing the above cited research, Dr. Harch has operated as an HBOT physician in private practice in New Orleans, LA, conducted education as a Clinical Professor in Emergency Medicine at the LSU School of Medicine, served 19 years as Director of LSUHSC Medical Center of Louisiana, New Orleans Hyperbaric Medicine Department, directed the Interim LSU Public Hospital and performed as a Principal Investigator (PI) on a number of HBOT self-funded and Congressionally funded studies.  Throughout the tenure of his practice Dr. Harch has repeatedly provided HBOT pro bono to civilian and veteran brain injured patients.

  • Specific Nomination Criteria Compliance:

  • Detail National and International Research Endeavors:
    • Completed Sentinel Case studies in New Orleans, results published in Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Vol 1, Issue 4, October- December 2010
    • Appointed principal investigator, and later shared this responsibility with Dr. James F. Toole (Former President World Federation of Neurology, Director National Stroke Research Center) on HBOT study for acute stroke.
    • Completed TBI Animal study results published in Brain Research in 2007 (1174:120-129)
    • 6/2008 presentation to Bureau of Medicine and Surgery resulted in 12/2008 DoD HBOT Conference which launched TBI & PTSD studies using “Harch HBOT protocol”
    • As President of International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation initiated and conducted National Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Project (NBIRR) study (results under journal review)
    • Principal Investigator on HBOT mTBI Persistent Post-Concussion Syndrome congressionally funded study (in recruiting)
  • How Has This Work Impacted The Field and Brain Injured Families:
    • The “Harch 1.5 ATA protocol” has been accepted nationally and internationally as the most effective protocol for the treatment and scientific study of TBI ( i.e. See Completed Israeli Study: “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury”)
    • Notwithstanding the absence of FDA approval for use of HBOT for all of the above cited brain injuries, significant numbers of patients have now experienced restoration of their lives from the Harch 1.5 ATA protocol including over 200 combat TBI and PTSD wounded veterans.
    • Dr. Harch’s success and testimony have led directly to the introduction of laws in the U.S. House and Senate to authorize use of HBOT for returning veterans.
    • The Governor of Oklahoma has signed into law SB1604  authorizing HBOT to treat TBI wounded veterans, based on successful use of Dr. Harch’s protocol and reported results
    • The state of Indiana is conducting an in depth analysis in consideration of action similar to Oklahoma’s
    • A number of Dr. Harch’s treated veterans have provided personal testimony as to the affect on their lives and that of their families (i.e. Major Ben Richards Video provided separately)
  • How has Dr. Harch’s research been disseminated:
    • As the Principal Contact for LSU School of Medicine in support of Michelle Obama Joining Forces Initiative
    • In 2007 conducted first Indian HBOT conference
    • Protocol success resulted in Judges from 20 Texas counties signing Governors petition for availability of veteran HBOT
    • Conducted numerous radio interviews, supported various TV  and documentary movie reports of civilian and veteran family treatment
    • Served as member of Board of Directors for: Alliance for National Health, American Board of Hyperbaric Medicine, Baromedical Research Institute of New Orleans, American College for the Advancement of Medicine
    • Routinely provided expert testimony in various state and federal courts
    • To see Curriculum Vitae for complete history of dissemination CLICK HERE

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