Tzahi Reuimi superbug hospital 311.
(photo credit: Carmel Medical Center)
A 24-year-old student teetered between life and death for more than a month due
to a tiny pimple on his wrist caused by a rare methicillin- resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection until he was saved recently at Carmel
Medical Center in Haifa.
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“We went to our health fund clinic, where the
sore was drained of pus and received antibiotics,” recalled Rosa Reuimi, the
mother of Tzahi, who was conceived after 17 years of in-vitro fertilization to
his infertile parents.
A dean’s-list first-year student studying business
administration at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, Tzahi found that
the pills didn’t help, and he began to suffer from severe pain all over his
body, as well as a fever of 41º Celsius.
“We felt that something was not
normal,” said his mother. “The pains were horrible and nothing helped, so
we went to Carmel’s emergency room.”
There, Dr. Gabi Weber conducted a
number of tests and found that Tzahi had been attacked by the virulent and rare
MRSA bacterium. The pathogen, first identified in 1961, is known for causing
skin infections in addition to many other types of infections.
statistics show that as many as 19,000 Americans die annually from MRSA
infections, some spread in medical centers themselves, but prevention practices
in hospitals and proper home care can reduce the toll.
“We know that it
exists from the medical literature and has attacked in the US, but seeing such a
case here in a young healthy man was almost unknown in Israel,” Weber
Orthopedists who examined him suspected that the infection had
reached his spinal cord, but a CT scan showed it was clean. Nevertheless, his
condition continued to decline, spreading to his lungs and the rest of his body,
and he lost consciousness. In the intensive care unit, Carmel doctors fought for
Dr. Silvyan Borstein, chief of intensive care, said she tried
all kinds of antibiotics, but nothing worked. Doctors had to give him anesthesia
to put him into an artificial coma and attach him to a respirator that worked at
a pace of 120 breaths per minute under high pressure.
“I waited for him
for 17 years before I became pregnant, and I wasn’t willing to give him up,” his
After consulting with additional experts abroad, Weber
managed to mix a “cocktail” of antibiotics that started to work. After the
source of the infection was found to be in his hip joint, he was rushed to
surgery to remove the pus and sterilize the area.
“It was a battle for
his life,” said Weber. “I don’t recall such a case in Israel. Thanks to the
professionalism here and some luck, Tzahi is alive.”
His body is reacting
well to the antibiotic cocktail, and he is recovering in the
Tzahi will be discharged in a few days, his doctors said