Dr. Owen O’Neill is leading groundbreaking work healing COVID-19 patients. Dr. Owen O’Neill is the medical director of the Division of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine at Phelps Hospital. The medical industry has struggled over the past two years to find effective and alternate ways to treat the COVID-19 virus; thankfully hyperbaric oxygen therapy continues to be the top contender to beating COVID-19.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a method of treatment aimed at boosting the amount of oxygen in the body by pumping pure oxygen and increasing the air pressure inside a chamber hood. By breathing in the specialized air in the chamber hood, your blood carries the extra oxygen to affected areas of the body which heal the organs and tissues needed to survive.
“Most recently during the pandemic, our research demonstrated how the use of hyperbaric oxygen hoods helped improve patients’ oxygen saturation levels and prevented them from the mortality risks of mechanical ventilation,” says Dr. O’Neill.
Dr. O’Neill’s encouraging HBOT research and conviction in his team’s clinical trial were both critical in saving the life of Dr. Morton Altwerger, who was suffering severe breathing problems from COVID-19. O’Neill chose to treat Altwerger with HBOT instead of a ventilator, resulting in a full recovery in one year’s time.
For his innovative and noble work in HBOT throughout the entire pandemic, Dr. O’Neill was awarded the 2022 Excellence in Hyperbaric Medicine Aware from the Undersea & Hyperbaric Society.
I am particularly honored by this recognition as it highlights the continuum of work that my team and I accomplish at Phelps Hospital,” notes O’Neill. “We are always interested in pushing the boundaries of hyperbaric medicine, research, education, and how hyperbaric oxygen can improve patient care.”
O’Neill and Dr. David Dayya, the associate medical director of the Division of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine at Phelps Hospital, determined in a joint study they published on April 1, 2021, in the journal of Respiratory Medicine that hyperbaric therapy was safer and more effective than mechanical ventilation in preventing mortality rates. “We’ve had multiple research papers published over the years for hyperbaric, respiratory, and wound care,” adds O’Neill.
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