In April 2015, I nearly died of sepsis.
How close did I come? Every doctor and nurse I saw during my week in the hospital said I was close. "We thought you were a goner," a PA told me. "You were in really bad shape," a nurse said, patting my hand. Officially, I had a 20 percent chance of leaving the hospital.
A few days earlier, I had been a healthy mom getting ready to celebrate Easter with my husband and kids and within days, I was deathly ill. I was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of severe sepsis and septic shock. By the time I entered the ER, my kidneys had shut down, my breathing was labored and my blood pressure was dangerously low.
I was dying and I didn’t even know it.
By the end of the day, I was in the ICU and had three IVs going around the clock, pumping antibiotics and other drugs into my weakened body. I was in the hospital for nearly a week. And I'll never forget how lucky I am to have made it out alive.
Sepsis is the body’s extreme immune response to infection and it can be deadly. According to the National Institutes of Health, sepsis occurs in more than one million people each year in the United States, with a 28 to 50 percent mortality rate. That's more than the number of U.S. deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. And while sepsis most often affects the elderly and those with a weakened immune system or chronic illness, anyone can get sepsis, including pregnant women and infants. In my particular case, sepsis began with a very common illness: pneumonia.
Unfortunately, since Dr. Marik’s protocol uses a combination of common drugs, backing the study won’t be of interest to money-making corporations.
As terrifying as sepsis is, there's now some hope in the horizon. At Virginia's Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Dr. Paul Marik has made a name for himself as a pioneer in the treatment of sepsis. Marik’s treatment, based on an infusion of Vitamin C, Vitamin B (thiamine) and the steroid hydrocortisone to treat inflammation, is garnering a lot of attention because his success rate—even on a small scale—has been so impressive, that some are calling it a cure.
Less than a year after I survived sepsis, and just miles away from were I was treated, Dr. Marik was treating another woman for sepsis. He decided to change the usual protocol, adding IV infusions of Vitamin C along with hydrocortisone. His patient improved dramatically, so he tried the treatment again—with the same results. He added a third ingredient, Vitamin B, and after continued success decided to write up his findings.
In a study published online in December by CHEST, an American College of Chest Physicians medical journal, the results were impressive. In 47 sepsis patients treated with the new protocol, only four died, representing an 8 percent mortality rate. And of those four patients, none died of sepsis but of the conditions that had led to sepsis in the first place. In the previous year, 19 of 47 sepsis patients died, which is a 40 percent mortality rate. The difference is staggering—and exciting in its potential to save lives.
The new vitamin-infused protocol has been called “miracle juice” by medical residents and "the cure for sepsis" by Dr. Marik himself. To date, Marik says he has treated 150 patients with the new protocol and only one has died of sepsis. It certainly sounds like a miracle cure, but because the number of patients to receive Marik’s new protocol is still such a small sample, and confined to a single hospital, so further studies must be done to validate the results.
Unfortunately, since Dr. Marik’s protocol uses a combination of common drugs, backing the study won’t be of interest to money-making corporations. “We are curing it for $60,” Dr. Marik says in an article by the Virginian-Pilot. “No one will make any money off it.”
My greatest hope is that someone will come through with the funding for this. With its potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives in just one year, Dr. Marik’s new protocol deserves a full and comprehensive study as soon as possible. Anything that represents a possible increased chance of survival for sepsis patients and their loved ones. is priceless.