Stories of Inspiration: SGB Series Part 1: The Patients
Stories of Inspiration

SGB Series Part 1: The Patients

September 28, 2020
Saving Lives Affected by Trauma
Video Time: 03:44 | Views: 648

Veterans and other trauma survivors say this groundbreaking 15-minute procedure was a game-changer–the difference between life and death. In this exclusive PenFed Digital series, meet three American heroes struggling with PTSD and get an up-close and personal account of their experience with the stellate ganglion block, or SGB.

If you know anyone coping with post-traumatic stress, whether a veteran, rape survivor or someone else who has endured traumatic events, you’ll want to watch and share this unprecedented series.

Out of all the emotions, guilt is the only emotion that you can’t handle on your own. I watched my friends burn to death on a dusty road in the middle of Afghanistan.

Joe is a Marine Corps combat veteran, still fighting a constant battle with depression.

I think the first therapy session I had like the therapist just started crying and I was like, What the [bleep]? I broke the therapist.

As an ICU nurse, we’re used to losses, you know that not…sorry.

Shannon is an intensive care nurse treating COVID patients in a New York City hospital.

You know that not every patient is going to make it. But I’ve never experienced 90% of my patients dying. I’ve also never experienced my patients having to die alone, with only me holding their hand as they die.

Such an angry dude. Just so angry all the time. And I’m just exhausted. Exhausted.

Sidney is a Marine Corps combat veteran who calls violence his personal vice.

Violence being my tool for so long. I don’t really know any other way to be. I feel the nerves, you know, to feel them wide open, they’re sensitive, they’re raw all the time. You know, it’s always there, you know, and then something happens and I boil over. And then I’m wide open for days, weeks, maybe.

Three people whose lives are ravaged by post-traumatic stress. Each one of them has attempted suicide.

I really do a hatchet job on myself. I become hyper critical. Everything. I’m fat, I’m ugly. I’m not a good nurse. I’m not smart enough. I’m not you know, I’m not enough. That’s really at the end of the day. I’m not enough.

All three patients have come to the Stella Center in Chicago to get an injection known as the stellate ganglion block or SGB. It’s been used since 1925 to treat chronic pain.


But Dr. Eugene Lipov has perfected its use for PTSD. He claims the success rate is more than 80%.

If somebody has a broken leg and you have an X ray of the leg, and it’s broken, you don’t ask somebody to walk on it.

He says post-traumatic stress is an injury too. And it’s time the medical profession acknowledged that.

When somebody comes in with PTSD they go well, you’re mentally… You’re weak. Something’s wrong with you. You don’t really have it. When you scan it, you go whoa, you have an amygdala that’s hyper activated, you have a problem. Let me help you. Think how powerful that whole concept is.

The amygdala is connected to the stellate ganglion, a group of nerves in the neck that sends messages to the brain in response to stress. When it’s overactive, it causes anxiety,  irritability, hypervigilance and sleep issues in a person with PTSD. Dr. Lipov injects a local anesthetic into the stellate ganglion, which reboots it to a normal resting state.

Sidney you did really well. You’re all done.

The shot often takes effect immediately and can last for months or years.

Up next. Post op.

And the immediate impact of the shot.

The colors are brighter.

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