Drug-resistant superbugs have become a ‘fundamental threat’.
A Medical Fact with a Relatable Story:
In 1942, Dr. Martin Blaser was desperately trying to treat his patient. Her name was Anne Miller who was only 32 years old. She had a 107 degree fever due to a miscarriage. Her infection had past the phase of challenging and was now imminently dangerous…
“By an incredible stroke of luck, the doctor gained access to one of the first tiny batches of penicillin, which was not even commercially available yet,” Dr. Martin Blaser writes in his book, “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues”.
Anne’s recovery was short of a miracle. Her fever broke, the delirium ended, she could eat, and within a month she had recovered. It was the scientific equivalent of a miracle. But there were lots of miracles that would take place once penicillin was available through doctors and hospitals prescribing to their patients.
Penicillin would become the miracle drug and save countless lives. Many of us don’t appreciate that fact that Penicillin saved millions of lives. From there medical scientists were able to develop other antibiotics like Ampicillin and others.
In 1992 Dr. Martin Blaser was attending a symposium at Yale University. What happened next gave him the chills, he says.
“In the third row, a small-boned, elegant, elderly woman with short white hair stood up and, with bright eyes, looked out across the room. She was Anne Miller, then in her 80s, given 50 more years of life by the miracle of penicillin,” he recounts.
“This is what doctors and patients alike have in mind when they think of antibiotics, says Dr. Blaser, a New York University microbiologist who chairs the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria.”
“And while antibiotics can be miracle drugs, they’ve been abused and overused so much that they are often useless against bacteria that evolve much, much faster than humanity can invent new weapons.”
On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted to take “a broad, coordinated approach” to go after antimicrobial resistance. “This is only the fourth time a health issue has been taken up by the U.N. General Assembly (the others were HIV, noncommunicable diseases, and Ebola),” the U.N. said.
Today, penicillin almost certainly would not help an Anne Miller. She’d at the very least would need an improved version of penicillin such as ampicillin, which has extra compounds added to counteract the tricks that bacteria have evolved to survive a round of antibiotic treatment.
As a patient myself in April 24, 2015 I became very ill. It was four days that I had the chills and my fever kept going up. I thought I had the flu. By Thursday, I cancelled my doctor’s appointment, because I knew then I was in serious trouble and I called an ambulance. On an IV, I was shaking uncontrollably, they started treating me immediately with antibiotics, very strong antibiotics in large dosages.
I remember the very petite soft spoken doctor who said to me, “Natalie, we are going to admit you to the hospital.” I was diagnosed with a Sepsis Infection, which is almost lethal. From a bladder infection to an infection that spread to my blood. The actress Patty Duke died this year in 2016 due to a Sepsis Infection.
I stayed in the hospital for six days and I recovered pretty quickly. I think all the nurses and doctors were pretty stunned. I had tubes connected to my body everywhere. On the third night I had to go to the bathroom and nobody was around at 3:00 am in the morning except for my nurse who was a pretty interesting person and I like interesting people. Who doesn’t?
I started yanking and disconnecting all the tubes and by accident the IV popped out and there was blood all over my gown. I managed to get to the bathroom dragging everything with me. When the nurse came in, he saw the shape I was in and he said to me, “Now Ms. Natalie you need some help, we need to change that gown and reconnect you to everything.” I said, “NO! I need more time to myself.” He was stunned and said “Alright!” and raised his head and left hurriedly.
After a while longer, another nurse came in and she asked, “Natalie, can we change you and connect everything?” “Oh Yes! by all means” I said. She looked at me with a grin on her face and then she started laughing and she smiled at me.
I knew she had already seen my hospital records where it indicated I had Carolis in 2008 and still live with it. Doctors at the University of Denver for a second opinion couldn’t believe I was living a good quality life. He said, “Whatever you’re doing keep on doing it. Then I had breast cancer in 2009, two life threatening illnesses one year apart. It’s enough to drive you crazy. I wasn’t supposed to get this sick. This wasn’t suppose to happen to me and still I ask why? Then I realize I’m alive and forget about it for another day.
She asked me, “Did you not want to change your gown and panties because of Jeffrey.” I nodded my head. “Oh honey child, he is more woman than you and I put together and we started laughing.”
Today, penicillin would not have helped me to fight a life threatening illness like Sepsis. Due to Levaquin, Aztreonam, and Cephalosporin I was treated for the Sepsis Infection and I thankfully survived. The Sepsis apparently affected my pancreas and triggered the diabetes. My grandmother and grandfather were both Diabetic so the probability was high that I would eventually become a diabetic.
the end and a new beginning ~ Natalie