Monday, 21 December 2015

Bacteria on the Brain

A brilliant surgeon offered an untested treatment to dying patients. Was it innovation or overreach? An interesting article published in the New Yorker. Free to read, by 

Excerpt:

"Muizelaar had devised the procedure in collaboration with a young neurosurgeon in his department, Rudolph Schrot. But as the consent form crafted by the surgeons, and signed by Egan and his wife, made clear, the procedure had never been tried before, even on a laboratory animal. Nor had it been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The surgeons had no data to suggest what might constitute a therapeutic dose of Enterobacter, or a safe delivery method. The procedure was heretical in principle: deliberately exposing a patient to bacteria in the operating room violated a basic tenet of modern surgery, the concept known as “maintaining a sterile field,” which, along with prophylactic antibiotics, is credited with sharply reducing complications and mortality rates. “The ensuing infection,” the form cautioned, “may be totally ineffective in treatment of the tumor” and could cause “vegetative state, coma or death.”


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle