When Tom Patterson started vomiting during an Egyptian holiday, he thought there was food poisoning. He was wrong. In fact, he was infected with an antibiotic-resistant super god, and only his wife's determination and revolutionary new treatment would save him.
"Did anyone tell Steph that her husband was going to die?"
It was a question Stephanie Stratdy didn't have to hear. She had been talking on the phone with her colleagues, who kept talking to each other after they thought she had closed.
Stephanie, an epidemiologist of infectious diseases, knew that her husband, Tom Patterson, was desperately ill – at that moment he was lying in a coma caused by medicine, but still came as a shock to hear that he was now expected to die.
"I was thinking, 'Oh my God. No, no one is. "I clutched the phone in my arms like a baby, and that moment was so deep. I realized if he was really dying, I must do something. If there is nothing left in modern medicine, I must try everything possible."  Doctors were quickly exhausted with ways to keep Tom alive as the deadly superman rushes through his bloodstream – resistant to all the antibiotics he has to offer.
Stephanie had read in medical literature that sometimes people in a coma could hear, so she decided to ask Tom if he wanted to live.
"I thought I couldn't just take matters into my own hands and keep him alive if he didn't want to live anymore. I have to ask him." Stephanie says. "So, I held his hand with a blue glove and said, 'Honey, if you want to live, you have to give everything you have to doctors, there is nothing left. All these antibiotics are useless now. So if you want to live, please squeeze my hand and I will not leave a stone inverted. ""
After a while Tom squeezed her hand.
"I pumped my fist in the air and said," Oh, that's great! "" Stephanie says. "And then I realized, 'Oh my God, what am I going to do now? I'm not a doctor, I don't know what to do. "
The couple, both scientists at the University of California, San Diego, met through their work on AIDS research. Passionate travelers, they visited about 50 countries together, often trying to rest for several days at the end of academic conferences, for
In November 2015, they traveled to Egypt when a terrorist bomb dropped a Russian plane flying from Sharm el-Sheikh. They discussed whether to cancel the trip but decided to continue anyway.  "Tom said, 'Oh, this is the perfect time to go There will be no crowds! I said, "Are you crazy?" I wrote the rest of my will and handed it to my parents who were at home. We thought that if there was a problem it would be a terrorist attack or something. " The trip was fantastic as expected. Their last stop was the Valley of the Kings and to get there, they took a boat trip across the Nile. Almost the only passengers on a riverboat destined for 150, they had wonderful food under the stars on the deck of the ship, the Nile glittering all around them.
But once again in his cabin, Tom began to vomit. At first, the couple suggested that it was food poisoning. During their travels they always wore Cirpro, an antibiotic, but this time it didn't work out. Tom continued to get worse and began to experience pain in his back. I don't feel like the nutritional poisoning he had before.
Stephanie took Tom to some doctors on dry land who performed a CT scan and found it was not food poisoning. a gut known as a pseudocyst that has grown almost to the size of a football.
Thanks to a hereditary medical insurance deducted for $ 35 before the trip, Tom was evaded with honey in Frankfurt, where doctors determined that the original cause of the problem was a gall bladder that had run into his gallbladder. channel. A cloudy, brown fluid was found inside the cyst, indicating that it was not a new infection. As they worked to figure out what was going on, Tom began to coma.
"I was hallucinating, thinking I was in Egypt, seeing hieroglyphics on the walls, really losing it," says Tom. "Because of the infection in my gut – and I hadn't slept in many days by now – I became pretty crazy. The doctors came back and said, "This is the worst infection on the planet. This is an infection that is shutting down hospitals in Germany. It's called Acinetobacter baumannii. ""
Tom was released in isolation and his children flew for fear that he would not. When doctors visited him, they wore special dresses.
This terrifying Stephanie who was acquainted with Acinetobacter from her undergraduate studies in microbiology.
"I was really shocked because this is an organism I used to apply to my Petri dishes in the 1980s and was thought to be a very cunning pathogen back then. We just needed gloves, lab coat, and no special equipment, "she says.
" In the last few decades, this has become what is essentially a bacterial kleptomaniac. She learned how to steal antibiotic resistance genes from other bacteria, and she adopted these superpower abilities that made her a very deadly pathogen. "
In 2017, she was listed by the World Health Organization as one of the three superbunns for which the new antibiotics were most urgent. Needed. Fortunately, there were still some antibiotics working on Tom and the medical team
- Listen to Stephanie Stratdy and Tom Patterson Talk to Outlook on BBC World Service
- Download the podcast Outlook
experts who were able to advise Tom's situation and it was resolved o move him back to San Diego Doctors had experience with Acinetobacter baumannii because of the high military presence in the area – the bug was called Iraibacter because of the large number of infections recruited by US forces in the Middle East.
When Tom arrived, he was again tested for sensitivity to antibiotics.This was bad news.None of them had any effect anymore.
Doctors had to make a difficult decision: they could either operate to remove an abscess or try to expel contaminated fluid from his body. But surgery, it was decided, was too risky – if the body gets into his bloodstream, he will fall into septic shock.
Steffanie describes septic shock as an overreaction of the body's immune system to the invader. The body goes into a "red signal", blood pressure drops, heart rate increases, breathing speeds up.
"It happens very quickly and there is a 50% mortality rate," she says.
So the doctors chose to drink from the fluid instead, by releasing five channels into Tom's belly.
Plans were made for his transfer to a long-term acute care facility. The day before this happened, however, one of the ducts slipped out as he tried to sit up in bed, throwing all the infection into his bloodstream. Immediately he was septic shock, re-admitted to intensive care and placed on a ventilator to breathe.
"From that moment on, bacteria were colonized everywhere in his body – in his blood, not just in his stomach. He was
A big man, 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 300 pounds (21 stone), he had already lost enormous weight.
"I could put my fist in the hollow in the cheekbone and two bones behind the orbits of his eyes, and that was just awful," Stephanie says.
At that moment, Tom didn't really know what was going on. "I was hallucinating those complex stories that were almost biblically proportionate. Things like, spending 100 years wandering the desert trying to answer three questions asked by holy people. It went on for days," he says.
He would come out of his coma briefly and then be able to communicate with the people around him, but he could not get out of bed.
At this time, Stephanie hears her colleagues ask her if Tom is told to die – and she asks him to shake her hand if he wants to live.
What Stephanie didn't know was that at this point he was hallucinating that he was a snake. How could he shake her hand when the snakes had no hands? Eventually he realized that he could wrap his whole body around her arm – only then did he give the signal.
Realizing that desperate measures were needed, Stephanie turned to PubMed, the search engine for the National Library of Medicine.
I introduced "multidrug resistance," "Acinetobacter baumannii," and "alternative treatments," and popped up a piece of paper called bacteriophage therapy in the title and thought, "Bacteriophage … I remember what they were. ""
Phages are viruses that naturally evolved to attack bacteria, and again Stephanie studied them for a short time as a student.
They are tiny, 100 times smaller than bacteria and are everywhere, she says, in water, in soil and on our skin. It is estimated that 30 billion of them pass through and out of our bodies every day.
"I was overloaded," she says. "But I tried to recreate the same type of response that was addressed to Tom. We saved some people, not only their lives but also their limbs. One of the most miraculous cases that resulted from Tom was Isabelle."
Isabelle Cornell-Holdaway, a British teenager suffering from cystic fibrosis, developed an antibiotic-resistant infection after a lung transplant. In October 2017, Isabelle's physicians contacted Graham Hatful, a phage expert at the University of Pittsburgh, and his team used their vast collection of phages to develop a genetically modified phage cocktail for Isabelle's treatment. Dr. Chip Schawley, the doctor who managed Tom's phage treatment and then worked with the Pittsburgh and London teams to obtain approval for therapeutic use of the cocktail.
Therapy begins in June 2018 and Isabel soon begins to recover. After months, she was able to return to a normal routine, though once given only a 1% chance of survival. The experience gained from rescuing Tom was invaluable in treating Isabelle's infection.
There are still many obstacles to phage therapy entering mainstream medicine.
Phages are not like drugs where a drug can be active against a wide variety of organisms. Phages work best when they are very closely aligned with the bacterium infected by a particular patient, which makes designing clinical trials more complicated. So far, only a few have taken place.
But Stephanie and Tom became phage evangelists. They told their story in the book The Perfect Predator, which is now becoming a documentary and a Hollywood film.
Те също откриха Центъра за иновативна фагова терапия и терапевтици в Калифорнийския университет, Сан Диего – първият специализиран център за фаготерапия в Северна Америка.
Част от тяхната мисия е да убедят хората в неотложността на намирането разтвор за антибиотична резистентност. Освен ако нещо не е направено, казва Стефани, един човек ще умре от инфекция със супербуни на всеки три секунди до 2050 г.
„Като епидемиолог от инфекциозни болести това, че съпругът ми умира от свръхбог, беше просто шок“, казва Стефани.  "Усещах се като жестока шега на Бог. Част от мен беше ученият, който се опитваше да анализира нещата и да получи контрол, другата част от мен беше съпругата, опитвайки се да държа ръката на съпруга си и да се справя с отчаяна ситуация.  "Но за да бъда честен, бях изключително смутен, защото наистина бях сляп за тази глобална заплаха – кризата със свръхбогата -, която се е прокраднала върху мен."
Всички снимки са любезни на Steffanie Strathdee, освен ако не е посочено друго  Може да се интересувате също от:
Поради рядко заболяване, Луиз Мурхаус е на специална диета с хапчета или шейкове с неприятен вкус. Има лекарство, което би й позволило да яде като всеки друг – тя го приема в продължение на три години по време на клинично изпитване, но NHS няма да плаща тя, а лекарствената компания спря да й я дава, след като процесът приключи.
„Помогнах да изпробвам чудесно лекарство – тогава ми беше отказано“ (април 2019 г.)