Silent Killers: Fantastic Pahegs?: After breaking his foot five years ago, Toronto bass player Alfred Gertler got an infection that antibiotics couldnâ€™t cure. Doctors told him he might have to have his foot amputated.
But then he read about a radically different way to treat infections. The treatment was in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, at the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi.
â€œIt was very strange. But it seemed like a lifeline,â€ he says. So he went. â€œThey had no heat, no electrical power, no water for much of the day,â€ says Gertler.
What Eliava did have was treatment that worked. They poured an ointment in the wound and within three days, the infection was gone. Susan Spencer reports.
Silent Killers: Deadly Food: Whenever 3-year-old Drew Randall is invited to a party near his home in Mansfield, Ohio, his mother, Adrienne, packs him food.
A special education teacher, Adrienne isn't just being picky or
over-protective, reports Correspondent Erin Moriarty. A bite of the wrong food could kill Drew.
Silent Killers: Scary Superbugs: Two years ago, Bobbie Mackeon got a paper cut. She thought it was no big deal.
But it got infected. Bobbie, a nurse practitioner, spoke with the doctors at her hospital, and they all figured an antibiotic would take care of it.
It didnâ€™t. Nor did the next two antibiotics she tried. â€œThe bug that was in there was eating these antibiotics for breakfast,â€ she says.
With her infection still raging, Bobbie turned to an intravenous antibiotic, which finally did help. But complications then led to potentially fatal blood clots. â€œThe blood clot was about four inches across and it had little bubbles around it, which told us it was infected,â€ she says.
The clots were so severe that her life now depends on high doses of blood thinners, which created new problems. Any injury can now be life threatening, because it is difficult to stop her body from bleeding. Now, instead of running as she used to, she works out, carefully, in her garage.
That a tiny infection could spiral into a life-threatening condition doesnâ€™t surprise Michael Shnayerson or Mark Plotkin. In their new book, â€œThe Killers Within,â€ they explore why antibiotics donâ€™t work the way they used to. Susan Spencer reports.
Silent Killers: Meningitis Strikes: In March, 2000, John Kach, a college freshman at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., was having the time of his life.
â€œI started concentrating on basketball, started to lift, getting my grades up, going to parties, doing my thing,â€ the young man recalls.
Then, the six-foot-four, 210-pound athlete lost everything in a nightmare that began when he was recovering from what he thought was the flu. Peter Van Sant reports.
Aired: 20 Sep 2002