Hundreds of people from around the world are calling a local doctor in hopes his treatment will help heal brain damage in their children. And now they are asking for your help with a place to stay during treatment.
Since the 1980s, two local doctors have been doing research, showing that hyperbaric oxygen treatments can help heal brain damage, especially when done right after the injury. Many people have traveled here for the treatment, but there are still doctors who question its effectiveness.
After publicity of the remarkable recovery of a toddler who nearly drowned, the clinic has been inundated with calls for help, but the families coming here for two months, have nowhere to stay.
Megan Lasure vividly remembers when her life changed forever last Christmas time. When she stepped away momentarily, leaving her teenager to watch, her youngest of five children, three-year-old Sam, climbed over a locked fence and nearly drowned in a relative's pool. She remembers one of her older son's reaction.
"And I will never ever forget the look on his face and all he said was, 'Mom,' but I knew something was horribly wrong," said Lasure.
Megan has come to New Orleans from her home in Pace, Florida, in hopes of helping Sam's brain damage. It's after a recent case study, published by LSU Health Sciences Center's Director of Hyperbaric Medicine, made headlines worldwide. Dr. Paul Harch was able to reverse brain damage in a two-year-old from Arkansas. He told doctors at her home hospital, how to specifically dose oxygen before she came to his clinic in Marrero for 40 dives in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. He says her shrunken brain re-grew much of its brain tissue.
"Centuries or more, we have felt the dictum has been that there's nothing you can do for a brain injury, and it's clearly wrong," said Dr. Harch after decades of animal and human research and brain scans.
Now hundreds of parents from around the world, with children who have brain damage from near drownings or other causes, are contacting him for help.
"And I remember thinking to myself, 'God please let my baby be ok.' I told myself, 'If I have to ask God to let my baby be ok, then something's wrong,'" remembers Kelsie LeBlanc of the night in summer of 2016 when her seven week old Kohen woke up screaming in pain.
Last summer, Kelsie LeBlanc evacuated her Baton Rouge home, walking a couple of miles in waist-deep flood water, carrying her seven-week-old son Kohen Blades. She believes that's why he contracted bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis damaging his brain. She says after the first dive, the now 13-month-old, who sleeps 90 percent of the time, showed improvement.
"He was wide awake, looking around, very talkative and opinionated, which is not something that is normal for him," said LeBlanc.
But now with the Ronald McDonald House full, Dr. Harch is hoping people will open their hearts to help these families with a place to stay, transportation, and donations for treatment insurance still won't pay for.
For more on Dr. Harch's clinic: http://www.hbot.com/
To donate for the treatment not covered by insurance:
Any donations to Harch Hyperbaric Institute are tax deductible and allow low-cost treatment as well as subsidize costs associated with a two-month stay in New Orleans.
To donate housing, transportation, Uber, Lyft rides or time at an Airbnb write to:
To donate specifically to Kohen Blades:
For more on Kohen Blades: