Patient Denied Stem Cell Treatment At GJ VA Hospital1 year ago
Posted on Nov 22, 2018, 9 p.m.
A Grand Junction resident is trying desperately to generate funding to receive stem cell treatment for COPD and an injured knee so he can walk around which would be significantly cheaper than invasive surgeries.
The Navy veteran says he’s been told the experimental treatment works and would like to try it but it is very expensive and he can’t afford it without getting assistance from the VA Western Colorado Health Care System approving his cause.
David Moncy has COPD which is a life threatening condition that makes it hard to breath as well as a knee injury related to his active time served in the Navy. Moncy says the VA has always been good to him, he just wants to be able to walk more than 30-40 feet with his cart. Moncy explains that he was offered a lung transplant, but after complications with a previous surgery he is afraid he will not make it through another, so he has turned to non-threatening stem cell therapy in search for hope.
Dr. Scott Faulkner of the Internal Medicine for Stem Cell Centers Colorado says approximately 80% of patients using this treatment see significant improvement. Stem cells are taken from either the patient or umbilical cords to be injected into target inflamed areas in the body, these treatments can live within the body for 6-8 months working to repair tissues the entire time.
After talking to specialists and pulmonologists about his condition and options Moncy applied for stem cell treatment at the Grand Junction VA hospital. However he has since received a registered letter in reply from the VA rejecting his application as it is not approved by the FDA.
In an interview with KKCO the VA states: "The VA Western Colorado Health Care System expresses sympathy and understanding for patients seeking care outside of established standards of care. Law prohibits us from discussing individual cases. At present, stem cell therapy is considered an experimental treatment for patients with COPD."
According to Faulkner there has never been an adverse effect in patients who have had umbilical cord stem cells. Moncy adds that stem cell therapy would be significantly cheaper than a lung transplant; single lung transplants cost an average of $861,700 and double lung transplants can cost $1,190,700 according to Milliman the world’s largest provider of actuarial and related products. Stem cell treatments for the veterans knee start at around $4,500 says Dr. Faulkner.
The Stem Cell Center for Colorado suggests stem cell treatments can help over 60 different disease varying from Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and arthritis. Faulkner is currently working with Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton to try and get treatments such as stem cell therapies funded for veterans at specifically approved centers within the state.
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