The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF) today announced that a patient's eyes—and life—were saved by doctors at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, TN, working with NNFF, NovaBay Pharmaceuticals and Dr. John Crew, director of the Advanced Wound Care Center at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, CA.
The successful treatment used a breakthrough approach, pioneered by Dr. Crew, that had previously saved the lives and limbs of all the prior patients—more than three dozen—who have been treated using the method.
This patient came into Vanderbilt University Hospital with serious necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating disease, around both her eyes. Her infection was spreading fast, rapidly destroying the skin and soft tissue on her face.
The physician who treated the patient, Dr. Louise Mawn of Vanderbilt University, immediately realized that the patient was in grave danger. For years, doctors have treated flesh-eating disease with an aggressive use of antibiotics, combined with cutting away dead tissue. The problem is that toxins from the infection continue to eat away flesh even after antibiotics control the bacteria. That's why up to 20 percent of patients die even with the most aggressive standard treatment—and why most lose arms, legs or other body parts.
With the dead tissue rapidly spreading on the patient's face, Dr. Mawn knew that the patient would probably lose both eyes—and maybe her life—if doctors relied only on the standard treatment. So Mawn quickly searched the Internet for new developments. She found NNFF and its efforts to alert doctors and patients to the new treatment approach. The key advance, Dr. Mawn learned, is irrigating infected wounds with NeutroPhase® Skin and Wound Cleanser in combination with negative pressure wound therapy. NeutroPhase contains Neutrox™, a pure, stable version of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) with no sodium hypochlorite impurities made by NovaBay® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NBY), an Emeryville, CA-based biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing topical non-antibiotic antimicrobial products. Lab tests show that in solution Neutrox not only kills bacteria, it also neutralizes the toxins that eat away tissue.
Dr. Mawn contacted NNFF co-founder and executive director Jacqueline Roemmele, who put her in touch with Dr. Crew and NovaBay. The team sprang into action. NovaBay and its U.S. distributor, PBE, Inc. rushed bottles of NeutroPhase to Vanderbilt free of charge, and Dr. Crew guided Dr. Mawn on how to administer the wound cleanser.
It was just in the nick of time. The destruction of tissue on the patient's face slowed and stopped before she lost her eyes. Within 36 hours, she began a full recovery.
"This case shows the potential of NeutroPhase to help in the fight against this devastating disease," said Dr. Mawn. "It should be part of every doctor's armamentarium."
The Vanderbilt patient is the latest in a long list of success stories using the new treatment approach that Jacqueline Roemmele and co-author, Donna Batdorff, describe in the just-released second edition of their top-selling book, Surviving the Flesh-Eating Bacteria: Understanding, Preventing, Treating and Living With the Aftermath of Necrotizing Fasciitis..
"This new case shows yet again how crucially important it is that we get the word out about this life- and limb-sparing new approach," said Roemmele. "All patients and doctors need to know that, for the first time, we now have an excellent chance of witnessing an end to the nightmare that is necrotizing fasciitis."
National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation