A Guest Post by Dr. Venugopal Gouri (The Author)
I lost one of my best friends on the “All Souls Day” (2nd Nov 2014) in an unfortunate turn of events in October 2014, as he was laid low by a Streptococcal bacterial infection that led him to septicemic shock (severe blood infection + abnormally low blood pressure). Dr. S.G. Venkatesh, a Research Scientist at the Cardiovascular Stem cell Research Center at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA was a happy, cheerful person bringing joy to all the people around him and his loss is being painfully felt by his family and friends. For someone who never cried, cribbed or complained as evident by 30 years of our friendship, the cruel hand of fate did him in, much to our chagrin. Coming as it did in the same year when the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the year 2014 with a focus on antimicrobial resistance; it was a rude shock.
STREPTOCOCCAL BACTERIAL INFECTION
I am not here to tell you a poignant tale but trying to veer your attention to an unfortunate outcome of what could have been preventable. Well, to tell you a little gist of the problem this gentleman had: One fine evening in the last week of October, he complained of a little feverishness and being a little under the weather, was coaxed to take an anti-pyretic and as there was no change by the next day he was attended to by his Primary Care Physician. By this time he had developed a pain in the thigh akin to a painful sting of a wasp. His physician advised him to carry on with the same medicine and an antibiotic that would keep his fever down, terming it as viral pyrexia and asked him to increase his electrolyte intake. The ensuing night was terrible as the fever turned high grade (>103 degrees Fahrenheit) and the painful area simply prevented him from the moving the limb even a little.
SUDDEN TURN OF EVENTS
He was in prostration and just had to be rushed to the Emergency. This was only the third day of the fever but the infection had taken its toll. The blood pressure sank and so did the electrolytes. He developed a difficulty in respiration within a couple of hours of admission into the hospital and needed a mechanical ventilator (artificial breathing machine) to keep up the respiratory rate. Within 6 hours due to the medication that was given to push up the blood pressure the kidney function that was already under the stress further dipped and he needed to be on dialysis (blood filtration outside the body using a machine) right away. As a reasonable blood pressure needs to be maintained for dialysis to be properly performed it turned ineffectual.
In spite of the emergency that the infection created there was still no trace of the cause. Since he had complained of a severe pain in the thigh a Surgery was done to explore any change. There it was a collection of pus which was promptly drained out and left to heal. The collection was sent for culture and he was promptly started on antibiotics for a Necrotizing Fasciitis (skin infection leading to inflammation, gangrene and necrosis), probably due to a Streptococcal infection. But the changes that were brought on by the infective agent had already taken over the system of the body. This was a state of septicaemic shock and all the vital organs were under its sway. It was only the sixth day of the onset of fever and he succumbed to it. A close associate of his; an Infectious Diseases Specialist rued the fact that the antibiotics did not rise to the occasion as otherwise, he would not have slipped into shock so early and easily in spite of the virulence of the organism. Alas, it was not to be.
USE OF ANTIBIOTICS
- Is it not true that in the early 1980’s when Ciprofloxacin was introduced into the market and considered only next to Penicillin and even 3 doses of the medicine was just enough to treat a stubborn case of typhoid and today it is being prescribed even for a stretch of 6 months for a urinary infection that simply does not yield in spite?
- Is it not a fact that these multidrug-resistant bacteria prowl the ICU of hospitals more and are responsible for the nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections (such as gram-negative bacterial infection) leading to iatrogenic deaths?
- Isn’t it a paradox that eradication programmes for Malaria (infection from a bite of female mosquito) in India have only wiped out the programmes but the communicable disease remains endemic?
OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS
- Is it not a fact that if the antibiotics are used in moderation and when relevant that the action of those is retained?
- Is it not a fact that patients have access to various antibiotics in developing countries and get to use them indiscriminately? Sometimes as innocently as using “eye drops” for an eye infection saying that they are just drops and not antibiotics!
- Is it not true that due to “Patents act” the synthetic chemical pharmaceutical companies go on a “kill” to advertise and sell as many in the period that they are eligible to do so?
MISUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS
This does beg many a question.
- Is it not a fact that because the antibiotics are being used without a properly appointed course that the surviving bacteria develop an “idea” about the attacking medicine and gradually develop a resistance to it? Since the strains of bacteria mutate in generations in a few months; they simply outpace the growth of antibiotics. Therefore, antibiotics should not be discontinued before completing the course otherwise bacteria may become drug resistant.
- Is it not a fact that the lifestyle of the day is so compelling that the individual wants to get back to work at the earliest and insists on the Doctor to prescribe him the so-called strongest antibiotic and they are obliged?
- Is it not a fact that doctors prescribe antibiotics for “colds and flu” in spite of them being viral infections?
- Is it not true that on the last occasion of Swine flu (Influenza Type A subtype H1N1) the world over it was feared to turn into a pandemic and the sudden over-production of the specific antibiotics lay unused and the pharmaceuticals sold them as a preventive medicine while still keeping the scare of the disease alive with the help of the media?
- Is it not true that only to keep the financial interest in some cases that the newer versions of antibiotics are used even for trivial infections that the older, cheaper and reasonably good enough antibiotics are left ignored and under prescribed?
- Is it not a fact that even in veterinary and agriculture unnecessary antibiotics are used, that has a ripple effect on humans as they consume them?
- Is it not a fact that these necessary antibiotics, when used without cause or concern, are actually being ineffective in emergency medicine; in transplant patients where immunity is actually suppressed with medication; in immune compromised individuals where the infections take a toll easily?
- Is it not true that when young children exposed to antibiotics even for minor infections tend to have various side effects; sometimes worse than the disease?
- Isn’t the deficient diagnostic system insisting on the Physicians to rush in to use the so-called “broad spectrum antibiotics” much before the organisms are isolated?
HOMEOPATHY – AN ALTERNATIVE TO ANTIBIOTICS
It could be a little surprise for the readers, for a homeopath to talk about antibiotic resistance.
But the fact of the matter is if homeopathic medicines are employed to treat in primary healthcare, the use of antibiotics would reduce significantly and there would be little chance for them to lose their efficacy and can be saved for a bigger battle! [click to tweet]
Having raised a few queries; it is not an attempt to have a pessimistic view of the subject or shedding a tear in despondence. It is a responsible attempt of a homeopath to bring to the world health community as to how to ensure antibiotics remain effective!
- We are currently in need of strategies to help maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics and thus ensure that their life-saving capacity remains available to future generations. It is under such circumstances that a safe, medical therapy like homeopathy can come into play.
- Well, the study of Physiology, Pathology, Medicine and the allied subjects have made a Homeopath of today, a better-equipped clinician to identify and tackle diseases with homeopathic medicines.
- In primary care facilities, homeopathy has made its presence felt because of this knowledge and simply homeopathy can avoid the usage of antibiotics in most of the cases.
- When the initial symptoms of infection are noticed these medicines can be indicated as they are effective in keeping the infections at bay.
- Even in so-called emergencies and infections that lead one to such a state, homeopathic remedies have a role to play. Whether it is to keep the vital organs in an active state and keeping the blood pressure even; to keep the electrolytes on par necessary and in so many other vital areas these remedies are up to the task and at worse a good complementary option.
- In post-operative conditions, traumas, injuries etc., homeopathic remedies can work along with the conventional medicines and help the patient to recover earlier.
- Of course, on top of it, the beauty of homeopathy is its non-violent nature, that it does not maim or kill any agents but boosts the immune system of the body to fight for itself more effectively and thereby there can never be any resistance to these drugs!
Homeopathic medicine could be a blessing in disguise as it will lead to significant decrease in the need for antibiotics and when the need arises they are up to the task of exterminating the bacteria and protecting the body.
The homeopaths of the globe are all equipped with evidence to prove the efficacy and all passion for healing the world and stand by the WHO and the ailing sick to keep at bay the infections with simple homeopathic remedies sans any side effects while the antibiotics underused on the shelf retain their efficacy when the situation demands. The search for new molecules of antibiotics can be pursued parallelly.
The family and friends of Dr. Venkatesh pay heartfelt tributes for his soul to be in peace and wish that such a predicament does not befall a bright life, not in the least to succumb to an eminently once-upon-a-time-easily- treatable Streptococcal infection.
About the Author: Dr. Venugopal Gouri
Dr.Venugopal Gouri BHMS, MD is in clinical practice since 1993 in Hyderabad, India. He has published more than 500 articles in the National Newsdaily, The Hindu on Homeopathy for awareness to the common man. He has a research publication to his name, “Carcinosin 30c Protects Islets Against STZ Induced Beta Cell Dysfunctions” with World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. He is serving Homoeopathic Medical Association of Telangana (HMAT) as General Secretary and Associate Editor, Medicina Futura Homoeopathica, a monthly journal from the house of HMAT. You can write to him at email@example.com
The Copyright is reserved with the author (Dr. Venugopal Gouri). All opinions are that of the author.
The above Guest Post is the 22nd in the GUEST BLOG SERIES. For reading previous Guest Posts check out https://drnancymalik.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/guest-blog-series
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