Brian Lynch writes about his personal journey with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in his book, “Oxygenation Is The Solution”. Lynch used the treatment to assist him with healing from serious injuries endured from a horse-riding accident in the UK.  HBOT provided him a way to reduce his time in a wheelchair, and limited his use of painkillers during a grueling recovery from a pelvic fracture, internal injuries, a chest infection, painful trauma, fat embolism syndrome (caused by fractured bone fragments in his blood), and numerous surgeries.

Since then, Mr Lynch has opened his own hyperbaric oxygenation treatment centre in Galway city. OxyGeneration opened its doors in April 2018, and consists of a 14-seat chamber, where clients breathe in almost pure oxygen at an increased air pressure. The goal is to dissolve the oxygen into the blood and plasma to repair hypoxic injured tissue at cellular level and restore normal body function.

In bringing him to this point, Mr Lynch extensively research hyperbaric oxygenation and found it being used globally in highly regarded institutions such as the Mayo Clinic in the US. University Hospital Galway is also home a 10-seat hyperbaric chamber for treating a range of conditions, including decompression illness and carbon monoxide poisoning.

As Mr Lynch continued to learn about the treatment, his grew to believe that hyperbaric oxygenation would be more common in Ireland if more patients knew about its benefits. His new book, Oxygenation is the Solution. Deaths from Covid-19 and Global Legal Insights for Medical Practice: An Insider’s Perspective, aims to raise awareness of the treatment while also calling on medical professionals to inform their patients of this potential treatment pathway.

In his book, Mr Lynch uses his legal insight to argue that, by not adequately informing eligible patients of hyperbaric oxygenation, the medical community is not complying with the law and ethical doctrine of balanced disclosure. He believes that treating someone after obtaining an invalid informed consent prior to any medical intervention is not properly understood by the medical community and hospital management.

In his argument, Mr Lynch highlights an interpretation of the standard to be followed to obtain informed consent, from a 2015 UK Supreme Court hearing concerning the law of disclosure about a Caesarean section: “The doctor is therefore under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments. The doctor cannot form an objective, ‘medical’ view of these matters, and is therefore not in a position to take the ‘right’ decision as a matter of clinical judgment.”

Mr Lynch said: “This book is primarily an invaluable tool kit for doctors or a doctor’s lawyers. If a doctor only told a patient about the recommended treatments based on standard evidence-based medicine methods as used in clinical practice guidelines and assumed they were safe from being sued successfully, they would be wrong – even if the initial treatment worked. A doctor must take reasonable care to inform the patient about reasonable alternatives based on the patient’s individual values.”

The writer also cites Long Covid as a condition that could be treated more effectively in many patients through hyperbaric oxygenation – if more people were informed of the treatment’s benefits. He points to a study from Israel published in July 2022 in Scientific Reports, monitoring long covid patients who were given 40 sessions of the treatment, and was summarised in its title as ‘Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves neurocognitive functions and symptoms of post-COVID condition: randomized controlled trial.’

Another study by UK clinicians published in the Royal College of Physicians journal Clinical Medicine found that, after ten sessions in ten people with the condition, significant improvements were found in fatigue levels, global cognition, executive function, attention, information-processing and verbal function.

“The treatment of Covid-19 patients is where the book’s story begins,” Mr Lynch added. “Five patients in the US in April 2020 in a reported case study opted to use hyperbaric oxygenation rather than mechanical ventilation oxygenation and they all survived.”

A County Galway-based GP in November 2020 was the first Irish doctor to refer a Long Covid patient – who was a frontline healthcare worker – to OxyGeneration for hyperbaric oxygenation. Since then, increasing numbers of Long Covid patients have come to the Galway-based hyperbaric oxygenation clinic for treatment, with a third of OxyGeneration’s new clients this year being related to Long Covid. Other common conditions seen among users of OxyGeneration are neurological dysfunctions such as dementia, concussion, headaches, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, tremor, nerve damage, stroke and memory loss.

“It’s valuable for the medical community to know that in the first six months of 2022, the number of GP and hospital consultant referrals to OxyGeneration has doubled. This two-fold increase in referrals includes medical conditions covered by Irish Life Health and the GAA Injury Benefit fund,” a statement from the company said.

As a stakeholder in OxyGeneration, Mr Lynch points to this conflict of interest in a book that raises awareness of the benefits of hyperbaric oxygenation. He writes: “I am personally conflicted in telling this story. My story is from my lay person’s view, who happens to be a lawyer with a legal opinion. I am someone with the advantage of an insider’s insight into its uses because I used hyperbaric oxygenation for my own recovery following a serious horse-riding accident in 2015, and for my recovery from Long Covid-19 Syndrome in 2021. Unfortunately, I have had to defend my right to have an opinion on various medical and scientific issues by stating that one does not have to be a medical doctor to be a patient.”

In his testimonial for the book, Mr Simon P. Kelly, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Beaumont Hospital, Bolton, UK, points to its exploration of the concept of informed consent from several jurisdictions.

“This publication will give readers food for thought about hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a potential treatment from both a medical and legal perspective. Importantly, the author explores concepts of informed consent from several jurisdictions and draws on some relevant case law.

“It is a publication that challenges much of what is regarded as the norm in healthcare and ethics and medical negligence including the concept of controlled clinical trials.

He adds: “This book will be of interest to the public, patients, policy makers and legal and medical practitioners and will stimulate debate. Without doubt, independent systematic reviews of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are needed as are measured consideration by policy makers.”

Read more at Irish Medical TImes