RANCHO MIRAGE – A hospital in Rancho Mirage has become one of the few to successfully use a groundbreaking treatment for a potentially lethal bacterial disease, it was reported today.
Dr. Anibal Gauto used a newly developed disinfectant method called NeutroPhase to cure a patient suffering from Necrotizing Fasciitis, also known as ”flesh-eating disease”, the Desert Sun newspaper reported.
Gauto is the medical director of inpatient wound care and founder of the Wound Care Center at Eisenhower Medical Center.
Fernando Davila, a 50 year-old casino security guard from Coachella, was successfully treated last year, the Desert Sun reported.
Eisenhower is one of two hospitals across the U.S. to use the cleansing agent, which was developed by Dr. John Crew, a vascular surgeon of San Francisco, and Nova Bay Pharmaceuticals, based in Emeryville, California. It was cleared for use by the FDA in August, 2012.
Necrotizing Fasciitis is a rare but potentially lethal bacterial infection affecting between 500-1,500 victims a year according to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation. Untreated, it can have a mortality rate of 70 per cent.
The standard treatment, according to the foundation, is ”aggressive removal” of affected tissue, as well as skin grafts and amputation.
Davila was admitted to Eisenhower in 2013 with lesions on his lower legs. He was treated with antibiotics for cellulitis, a related, but less severe version of Necrotizing Fasciitis.
As the infection worsened, he was re-admitted to the hospital, where Gauto diagnosed an infection of flesh-eating bacteria, which had left half of the soft tissue in Davila’s left leg infected, dead or dying.
Davila had been diagnosed with diabetes and kidney failure in the past, but this, he understood, was serious.
”I knew I was close to death,” Davila told The Desert Sun. Dr. Gauto, he said, was the one who brought him back.
The treatment bathes and soaks the affected area with the cleansing agent. This, along with three surgeries, 16 days in hospital and five months of rehabilitation has seen him Davila back on his feet.
Gauto is a friend of Crew, who developed the treatment, the Desert Sun reported. He first used it on an Eisenhower patient in 2012.
Gauto told the paper he had seen six or seven patients with the infection in the past 18 months.