Over the course of our reporting, we discovered that it was common for hospitals, doctors, and public health agencies to advocate when it comes to problems with resistant insects, although they have widely recognized the existence of the problem and even encouraged our efforts. This disconnect was at its peak when the number was turned to the first article of our series, published online Saturday – Candida auris.
C. auris is a drug resistant mushroom that has mysteriously emerged around the world and is considered a clear and present danger. But the Connecticut state officials did not tell us the name of the hospital where they had a C. auris patient, let alone connect with her family. Texas officials either, where the woman was transferred and died. A spokeswoman for the city of Chicago, where C. auris has become widespread in long-term care facilities, promised to reunite with a family, and then stopped returning my calls without explanation.
There were rays of light. The state of New York, where many people have died, told us that they tried to put us in touch with families of people who became ill, as well as a branch of Mount Hospital. Sinai in Brooklyn. But one after the other have withdrawn. "They pulled out," said a hospital official to my colleague Andrew Jacobs, who was only a few hours after an interview with relatives of a deceased C. auris patient.
My e-mails to a researcher about C. auris in India, which dealt with many cases, went unanswered, and it soon became commonplace – e-mails and calls simply did not return. We called on the New York Times website to ask families affected by C. auris, recognizing that it might cause other people to be unaware of it and not having it. have nothing to do.
We realized that the secret surrounding C. auris was a big part of the story. A doctor in Spain wrote to me that the hospital did not want bad press in seeming to be a home of the mushroom. I have received the same message from a doctor in England. A New York doctor told me that patients and their families did not like being associated with the disease, as they had a scarlet letter – "A" for auris.
The stakes are growing. The question goes far beyond this mushroom. Ms. Bailey's bacterial infection continues to touch her. This week, she will have her gall bladder removed, due to complications from many antibiotics and steroids used to treat her vexing infection, her family said.
As we prepare to go forward with more articles on drug resistance, we understand that we are tackling a problem that is so scary that some people can easily ignore it, less scary. to bury.
If our series makes more people talk, it would be a victory.