Update: Read how Dr. Louise Mawn of Vanderbilt University Medical Center saved a patient's eyes - and life-using Dr. Crew's protocol. She and her colleagues have since gone on to save several other patients throughout the United States as well.
In this global outreach program, the NNFF is connecting patients and their families from all over the world with leading physicians who are continuing the lifesaving protocol developed by the late John R. Crew, M.D., formerly the director of the Advanced Wound Care Center at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, who passed away on January 12, 2017.
Our informed physicians have agreed to collaborate with the treating physicians of the NF patient at no cost, using a ground-breaking new treatment developed by Dr. Crew for the treatment of necrotizing soft-tissue infections.
Dr. Crew's groundbreaking work earned him a nomination for the Lister Legacy Prize, an award presented by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to recognize contributions in controlling infections, as well as invitations to speak around the world. So passionate was Dr. Crew in his belief in this lifesaving protocol, he devoted most of his time to working closely with NNFF to get the word out to other doctors and hospitals.
Dr. Anibal Gauto of The Eisenhower Medical Center, both a victim and a physician, has spent decades of his career treating NF patients. He has successfully used NeutroPhase® to treat patients, such as casino employee Fernando Davila. "Without the treatment, Mr. Davila would have had his leg, or maybe both legs amputated, or even lost his life," said Dr. Gauto. "This approach has the potential to be really, really big."
"The new treatment and the referral initiative are crucial advances in the fight against this deadly threat," says Jacqueline Roemmele, executive director of the NNFF. "I'm heartbroken to think of the thousands of cases in the past where I could only offer emotional support," she said. "But now there is real hope. People are not only living, but they also are not losing any limbs at all. The world should sit up and take notice."
Saving a Young Man's Life Half a World Away
In one recent case, Roemmele got a frantic email at 2 AM from the aunt of Jared Hamilton, a 28 year-old government worker in the Marshall Islands. Playing frisbee barefoot on his lawn, Hamilton had cut his foot. The cut got infected with bacteria which can cause flesh-eating disease.
The local doctor on the Marshall Islands treated Hamilton with the current standard of care for necrotizing fasciitis. He fought the infection with antibiotics, and as the disease destroyed the flesh on Hamilton's leg, the doctor cut away, or debrided, all the dead areas―but the disease just kept spreading. Hamilton had lost most of the skin on his lower leg and was in danger of losing it and his life from toxic shock. This prompted his aunt to reach out urgently to Roemmele at NNFF.
Once NNFF connected Dr. Crew with Hamilton and his aunt, Dr. Crew arranged for Hamilton's transfer to a large hospital in Hawaii, and then guided the local medical team through the new treatment protocol. The key innovation is using a substance called hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a natural chemical produced by white blood cells as a first defense against microbial invaders.
NovaBay® Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NBY), a biopharmaceutical company based in Emeryville, California, has created a stable pure version of HOCl called NeutroPhase®, a skin and wound cleanser.
The team irrigated Hamilton's wounds with NeutroPhase® while continuing to fight the infection with antibiotics and cutting away dead tissue. They also drew fluid from the wound with a common vacuum technique called 'negative pressure wound therapy'. The treatment ultimately saved Hamilton's life and leg; and "the surgical team did a masterful job grafting skin back on the leg," commented Dr. Crew.
As Dr. Crew described in an article published in the journal, WOUNDS, NeutroPhase® has been shown in laboratory testing to not only kill the bacteria that are known to be present in NF wounds, but also to neutralize the toxins produced by those bacteria. Unless they are neutralized, the toxins continue to destroy tissue even after the bacteria have been killed, explaining why so many patients lose body parts. Dr. Crew extrapolated from those laboratory results to try the NeutroPhase® on patients with NF. "No one I've been responsible for treating has lost an arm or leg, or a life," said Dr. Crew. "We have something that will change the standard of care for this terrible disease."
Jacqueline Roemmele and the NNFF had followed Dr. Crew's pioneering work for several years, and after meeting Dr. Crew, we became convinced that his new treatment was the medical advance that the Foundation―and the many people suffering from this disease―had been waiting for. "We are making this groundbreaking treatment protocol available through the referral program, and are so very grateful to Dr. Crew for his unwavering commitment to saving the lives of NF patients, and to the physicians who are taking over his work since his passing" said Roemmele. "It is our greatest hope that the heartbreaking phone calls and emails relaying yet another death or loss of limbs will become a thing of the past."
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with NF, one from our medical team will consult with your treating physicians at no fee, and the hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is also provided at no cost, shipped directly to the hospital.
Please contact NNFF immediately at 862-213-5213, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may read more about Dr. Crew and his lifesaving treatment of NF via the following links:
Treatment of Acute Necrotizing Fasciitis Using Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and Adjunctive NeutroPhase Irrigation Under the Foam, Wounds (Medical Journal) Oct, 2013
Seton Medical Center’s John Crew, MD, Nominated for Lister Prize: Recognizes Dr. Crew’s Treatment of “Flesh-Eating” Disease
Neutrophase in Chronic Non-Healing Wounds, Crew J, Varilla R, Rocas TA, et al. NeutroPhase® in chronic non-healing wounds. International Journal of Burns and Trauma. 2012;2(3):126-134.