My husband has just been diagnosed with COPD. The rules from
DOT are "in most cases, the use of oxygen therapy while driving is disqualifying".
Does this mean that he can use oxygen therapy from a oxygen concentrator (machine, not bottles) while sleeping or on his own time in the truck?
A oxygen concentrator takes air around the machine, concentrates it, and is used immediately by the person, and is also approved for airline travel.
There is no stored oxygen in the concentrator.
I have emailed the DOT and their wording in the regs leaves a lot out. It specifically says "driving" and does not address non-driving/sleep times a trucker is in his truck.
This event is very overwhelming. He has six years before retirement, and of course insurance is tied to employers or social secucity medicare.
Thanks for your input. We really need it.
I'm so sorry this has happened to your husband. I work in the "oxygen business" so I took note of your title. I hope the DOT has some good news for you in that I would not see a problem with a concentrator in the cab during sleep time as long as he can get the required power to it. They are power hogs. He can request a smaller travel concentrator from his oxygen provider. Is his prescription for it only for night use at this point? If it is and he is a smoker, he needs to stop NOW if he hopes to make it 6 years to retirement without having to go to 24-hour oxygen. Once he hits that level he will be faced with using a liquid oxygen portable or cylinders of oxygen, neither of which will work for driving a truck, as you already seem to know. COPD is progressive, but even more so if one continues to smoke, so he must stop now if he is a smoker because it just speeds it all up. I speak from working in the industry and from having a dad who is currently in end-stage COPD and still smoking. Good luck!
thanks shookup. yes, we have just purchased a small travel concentrators because of the power hog tendancies of the larger unit, and yes it is only for off time or sleeping. i agree with you about the smoking, but you can only lead the horse to water, but you can't make 'em drink it.
i don't know why smokers are not more concerned about who they leave behind and what devastation they leave when there is a probate and you have to pick yourself up and move on.
they don't seem to care about the consequences of their actions. but im trying to keep him going. i need him. And he needs to stay working, so I will try my best to badger him. thanks for the input.
I fail to see why an O2 bottle couldn't be used during non driving times. I think the DOT is of the mind that if a driver is dependant upon it then he'd be in a world of hurt if it failed. That I imagine would get ugly quickly. Personally I'd love to have an O2 bottle in the truck as that I know no better cure for a headache.
As to the smoking, I totally understand how hard it is to quit smoking, but truly the body can take it for only so long and oxygen cylinders and oxygen machines are not a pretty future. I have one patient, an elderly lady dying of emphysema who says she smoked for 40 years, loved every single cigarette, but says she is paying for it now with every single struggling breath. The saddest part of COPD and emphysema is the regret that comes when you suffer so and know that you brought it all on yourself. It is rare for someone to get those diseases and not have been a smoker, so they are definitely preventable in theory, but once you start smoking it is SO hard to stop, and people always feel "It won't happen to me." Sadly with smoking, it usually does. It is also rare to find someone in their 70s who is/was a smoker who is NOT on oxygen. Truly, if you are a smoker, STOP NOW. It WILL catch up to you, and the price for every puff is higher than you may realize. Okay, off my soap box this morning.
DOT told me the reason you can't have a tank in the cab is because of a accident! The tank would become a missile! !
Oxygen concentrator is fine!!
If your O2 levels stay above 87% you can use a concentration system. If 86% or below you can't use anything but pure air from a tank (Meaning NO MORE driving job!!)
I'm in hospital now with COPD and Double Pneumonia! !
Doctors are trying really hard to stay off the tanks!! I explained to them about my job. I appreciate their help and attention! ! O2 levels so for at 87% and rising from 82%! They are going to prescribe a concentrator and a week to 10 days out of work after leaving hospital.