Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World

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9780809016426: Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World

Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones.

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About the Author:

Jessica Snyder Sachs is a freelance science writer. Her first book, Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death, was published in 2001. She lives in New Jersey.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpt
On the icy afternoon of December 6, 2003, Theresa Lannetti slipped into the home-team bleachers of Person Stadium, in the wooded college town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Like everyone around her, she had come to cheer the Lycoming College Warriors in their NCAA division quarterfinals against the Bridgewater Eagles. But for once Theresa did not scan the crowd for the other parents with whom she’d become friends over the previous three years. She understood that few would expect her to be there, and some might feel awkward that she was.
 The previous night, in the critical-care unit of a local community hospital, Theresa had wrapped her arms around her son’s college roommate, Sean Hennigar, telling him that he would score a touchdown for Ricky the next day. In the morning Theresa knew that she had to stay in Williamsport and lose herself in the familiar sounds of the game. She watched as Ricky’s teammates jogged out from the locker room; she registered the clenched jaws and fists of his best friends; and then she glimpsed the 19s scrawled in eye black across their arms, sleeves, and pant legs. The cheerleaders rose to welcome the team—more 19s, written in jagged strips of athletic tape across the backs of their jackets and with blue greasepaint on puffy cheeks streaked with tears. Theresa’s own eyes remained dry until she looked across the field to see yet another 19, some fifteen feet tall, shoveled into the snowy hillside alongside the visitor stands. As Theresa watched, the artist put down his shovel and flopped onto his back, adding one perfect snow angel and then another—two asterisks above her son’s number. Perhaps they stood for the two team records that Ricky Lannetti had set that season: six pass receptions in a single game and seventy over the regular season. Overhead, the clouds began to part for the first time that week.
 The first snowstorm of the winter had arrived the previous Tuesday, dusting the field as the Warriors finished afternoon practice. The forecast of weeklong blizzard conditions did not dampen the campus-wide excitement over the NCAA division quarterfinals, with expectations high that this would be the season Lycoming would advance to the semifinals, having fallen short the previous six years. Ricky had started coughing that morning, and near the end of the blustery cold practice, a wave of nausea forced him to sit out the final plays. When Theresa called from Philadelphia the next day, Ricky cut her short. “Mom, I can’t talk right now. I don’t feel so good,” he said. “I’ll be fine. It’s just one of those twenty-four-hour things. I gotta throw up now, okay?”
 Theresa told herself that Ricky was probably right—he’d be fine by the weekend. As always, she looked forward to watching her son play and didn’t even mind the 180-mile trip from her row-house neighborhood in northeast Philly to Williamsport, the central Pennsylvania college town where Ricky was halfway through his senior year as a criminal justice major. While Theresa’s marriage to Ricky’s father had ended in 1991, their son’s sports, especially football, kept family and mutual friends bound together around practice schedules, games, and postgame celebrations. In grade school Ricky had a reputation as a “mighty mite,” always among the smallest on the field but also the hardest to catch or evade. Other kids his age could never understand how a guy who barely reached their shoulders could hit so damn hard or arc into the air, as if from nowhere, to snag a ball. By the time Ricky reached high school, Theresa was cheering more often than cringing when her son withstood tackles that should have brought down someone twice his size. She even begrudgingly accepted the fact that there was no way she could drag him out of a game, even when she knew he’d been hurt. In his four years playing for Lycoming, he had missed only one game, and that for a badly twisted ankle that he insisted was fine after a week.
 But the days leading up to the team’s quarterfinal game had Theresa worried. Ricky was still throwing up when she called back on Thursday. “You can’t ignore this!” she insisted. “You have to have someone check this out.” She phoned the head trainer, Frank Neu, who promised to take Ricky to see his wife, a family physician, to rule out anything more serious than the flu that had been downing students since the Thanksgiving break. That afternoon Stacey Neu listened to Ricky’s lungs. They sounded clear. She took his temperature—slightly elevated. With his main symptoms being nausea, fatigue, and achiness, all signs pointed to the flu. Antibiotics wouldn’t help, she explained, as they kill bacteria, not viruses.
 The snow was still falling across Pennsylvania on Friday morning when Ricky’s legs began to ache. His roommates, Sean Hennigar and Brian Conners, pushed sports drinks and water, figuring that Ricky was dehydrated from vomiting. That evening the snow slowed Theresa’s drive out of Philly to a crawl. She wasn’t yet halfway to Williamsport at 9:30 p.m. when Ricky called her cell phone to say he wanted to sleep. He’d see her in the morning. But Ricky didn’t sleep. And despite himself, he moaned every time he rolled over in bed. “If I don’t get outta here, you guys won’t get any sleep before the game,” he told his roommates at 4:00 a.m. He called and asked his mom to bring him to her hotel room.
 Initially, Ricky rebuffed Theresa’s suggestion that they go to the hospital. But when she heard him sound short of breath, she insisted. At 7:20 a.m. they pushed through the emergency room doors, and Ricky began vomiting blood. Within five minutes a half dozen doctors and nurses had oxygen flowing into Ricky’s nostrils and an intravenous line infusing fluids into his left arm. They drew blood for laboratory tests and put him on a heart monitor.
 The critical-care doctor in charge noted Ricky’s rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, and slightly elevated temperature. “Just achy all over,” Ricky told him when the doctor asked about chest or abdominal pain. “And tired, really tired.” Ricky’s lungs still sounded clear. His nose and throat looked normal. The doctor asked when he last peed. “Sometime Thursday, I think,” Ricky replied. Theresa saw the alarm in the face of the doctor, who immediately called for a catheter. As soon as the nurse inserted it, the attached Foley bag filled with cloudy brown urine. Ricky’s kidneys were shutting down.
 Though Ricky’s symptoms still pointed to a viral illness—albeit an overwhelming one—the critical-care doctor decided that he could not afford to wait for the twelve-hour blood culture that could rule out a bacterial infection. He added two powerful antibiotics—cefepime and vancomycin—to the fluids flowing into Ricky’s arm. Theresa, meanwhile, had reached Ricky’s father en route to Williamsport for the afternoon game and diverted him to the hospital. When Rick Senior arrived just before 11:00 a.m., he was stunned by the sight of his son in a tangle of tubes and wires, lips and nose still flecked with dry blood.
 Back at Lycoming College, NCAA officials were trodding over the snow-blanketed playing turf and kicking at the broad mound of ice that encased midfield. At 10:00 a.m. they had announced their decision to postpone the game to Sunday rather than risk player injury. Ricky’s closest teammates headed to the hospital, where to their surprise the emergency room staff let them walk into the intensive care unit. Ricky seemed better. Irritated with the parade of doctors in and out of his room, he wanted the oxygen line removed from his nose, and he wanted to know when he could go home. “I heard the game was postponed,” he told Sean. “That’s great. Maybe I’ll have a chance to play.”
 But just after 1:00 p.m. Ricky sank into unconsciousness, and alarms began beeping as the level of oxygen in his blood dropped dangerously low. A nurse herded the football players out of the room, as doctors snaked a tube down Ricky’s throat so a mechanical ventilator could take over the work of his failing lungs. An echocardiogram showed that his heart was likewise weakening, and a call went out for a helicopter to fly Ricky to Philadelphia’s Temple University Medical Center, where he could be put on a heart-assist machine. An infectious-disease specialist ordered additional antibiotics as a hedge against any conceivable type of bacterial infection. Something was destroying Ricky’s organs, but exactly what or where it lurked in his body remained maddeningly unclear. Then came worse news: the helicopter pilot at Temple University Hospital had ruled it too dangerous to fly in the continuing snowstorm.
 Ricky’s heart stopped at 5:36 p.m. For forty minutes, nurses and doctors performed CPR as they waited for a cardiac surgeon to arrive. By 6:30, the surgeon had connected Ricky’s arteries to a heart-lung bypass machine that circulated sixteen units of oxygenated blood through his body. But an hour later Ricky’s heart remained still, his eyes fixed and dilated. The surgeon stepped out of the operating room to talk with Ricky’s parents. At 7:36 p.m. he disconnected Ricky’s machine.
 Theresa asked the nurses to help her clean Ricky and move him back to his hospital room. She wanted the boys—now sobbing in the hallways—to see their friend once more before they left. She knew she had done the right thing when Ricky’s father pointed out the smile on his son’s face and linebacker Tim Schmidt added, “Damn, if that’s not that sm...

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Jessica Snyder Sachs
Editore: Hill Wang Inc.,U.S., United States (2008)
ISBN 10: 0809016427 ISBN 13: 9780809016426
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Descrizione libro Hill Wang Inc.,U.S., United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780809016426

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Jessica Snyder Sachs
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Descrizione libro Hill Wang Inc.,U.S., United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780809016426

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Descrizione libro Hill Wang Inc.,U.S., United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780809016426

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Descrizione libro Hill & Wang Inc.,U.S. Paperback / softback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in A Bacterial World, Jessica Snyder Sachs, Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. "Good Germs, Bad Germs "tells the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs. It also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones. Codice libro della libreria B9780809016426

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