Don’t Let a Small Cut or a Hospital Stay Kill You

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

February 11, 2019



Imagine that there was a disease associated with 25-30% of hospital deaths. Imagine that this number goes up closer to 50% when patients have complications. Imagine it was fast-acting and likely to be fatal if it wasn't caught quickly. And imagine if it was rarely listed as the cause of death, reducing the attention it received and making care givers less aware to watch out for its signs before it became fatal.

It's okay if you don't have a very vivid imagination. This situation is very real. And you can catch this same disease simply by cutting your finger. But you don’t have to die from this disease.

The situation first came to light several years ago when the TV show “Good Morning America” covered the sad story of Rory Staunton. In case you missed it, Rory, a 12-year-old boy, did something kids do all the time. He dove for a ball during a basketball game and received a simple cut on his arm. Two days later, he was vomiting and had a high fever. A few days after that, Rory died at one of the best hospitals in the country, New York University-Langone Medical Center.

What’s scary about Rory’s case is that we’re all susceptible to this type of infection. Rory died of a kind of blood poisoning known as sepsis. Any cut or abrasion could allow these bacteria into our blood, where nothing modern medicine has in its arsenal can touch it.

You've probably heard me talk about sepsis before, a life-threatening infection that can cause organ failure and death. I've talked about sepsis a good bit. While it’s most common in lower-income countries, it's much more prevalent than you might expect in the First World as well. In fact, some medications can cause it. One multiple sclerosis drug called Copaxone has disorders of coagulation and bleeding problems repeatedly listed among its side effects. Post marketing reports on the drug have linked it to infections and even sepsis. Sepsis is a known inducer of coagulation disorders.

So if you're hospitalized, you should be aware of the symptoms in case you need to be your own advocate. Signs can include changes in breathing and mental state, as well as fever or a low body temperature. If you notice any of these, ask your doctor or nurse right away if sepsis could be the cause. You want to make sure it's on their radar.

But don’t stop there. It can be wise to ask about sepsis identification and response procedures ahead of time. This will keep the issue top of mind for both you and your providers, increasing the likelihood that it will be recognized in time for you to receive treatment should the need arise. Treatment is possible, so if you have to go into the hospital, make sure your nurses are vigilant about it.

In fact, doctors could have saved Rory’s life if they had treated him with a simple blood treatment we’ve had around for over 70 years – or even a simple vitamin treatment. Either one could save your life. So ask your doctor about these treatments I’m about to discuss.

This 70-Year-Old Treatment Can Cure Sepsis

Dr. George Miley was a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia back in the 1930s and ’40s. My friend and colleague, published a review paper in 1996 that detailed how Dr. Miley treated sepsis. He did not use antibiotics. And in 1942, he reported on 103 consecutive cases. His results were surprisingly good.

When he was able to treat the infections early, he cured 100% of his cases. When the infections were moderately advanced, his results were not as good – only 97% cured. And when he treated patients who were close to death, he was able to cure 47%. That’s much better than we are doing today with our modern ICUs and wonder drugs.

Dr. Miley treated these patients with ultraviolet light. He withdrew a small amount of blood from the patient, exposed that blood to ultraviolet light in the “C” spectrum, and then returned the treated blood back to the patient. The cost was minimal. The side effects were non-existent.

The treatment that Dr. Miley used goes by several names, including photooxidation therapy, photoluminescence, extracorporeal photophoresis, and ultraviolet blood irradiation or UVB. I use the term UVB.

UVB has two physical effects that make it ideal for treating sepsis. First of all, it’s a powerful antibiotic. No bacteria can survive when exposed to ultraviolet light. And no bacteria can develop a resistance to ultraviolet light. Second, it regulates the way the immune system responds so that it maintains a healthy balance of cytokines. This prevents the massive inflammation leading to organ failure so common with sepsis.

The Demise and Resurrection of UVB

When antibiotics first arrived in the 1940s and ’50s they came with the expectation that they would eradicate all infections from the planet. The result was that almost everyone forgot about UVB. However, due to the high cost of antibiotic therapy, and because of the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, the Russians resurrected UVB in the 1980s. Since then, the Russians have published many studies on the effects of UVB on sepsis and other medical problems.

In their first study on sepsis published in 1983, Russian doctors reported on 115 patients who had acute sepsis. They found that the death rate was reduced 300%. In another report published in 1997, they further confirmed these amazing results.

In that study, the researchers treated 81 patients with multiple organ failure due to advanced sepsis. Half of them received the usual IV fluids and antibiotics. The other half received that plus UVB. In the group of patients like young Rory who were only treated with antibiotics, 94% died. In the group that had the additional benefits from UVB therapy, the death rate fell to 40%.

In the past, I’ve told you about two studies published by Dr. Silvia Menendez showing the effectiveness of a combination of antibiotics and ozone therapy. Ozone therapy has the same characteristics that UVB has. It kills infections and it balances the immune system’s cytokine response.

In those experiments, researchers infected animals with septic doses of bacteria. Half of them received antibiotics alone. The other half received antibiotics combined with ozone therapy. The results? The combination doubled the effectiveness. In both studies, many of the animals that had been given the combination lived while almost all of those given only the antibiotics died. These results are very similar to the Russian study.

Combining Two Powerful Treatments

At my clinic, we use a combination of ozone and UVB. It is inexpensive and remarkably easy to do. And completely without side effects. If the situation is severe enough, I will add in antibiotics. But for the most part, just the ozone/UVB combination is enough.

You can find a doctor who has been trained and certified by the American Academy of Ozonotherapy in both ozone and UVB by going to the academy’s website, Practitioners interested in training for this technique can learn about the course I offer at In that course, I cover both ozone therapy and UVB therapy.

People are still dying from this condition even though it was cured 70 years ago with a treatment that has since been forgotten. It doesn’t have to happen to you. How many more have to die before hospitals get the message?

New Treatment Is Easy and Accessible

While there aren’t a lot of doctors using UVB or ozone, there’s another treatment that can lower your risk of dying from sepsis down to zero. And Big Pharma had nothing to do with it.  Recently, doctors have discovered that adding in one simple, safe, and inexpensive vitamin to the conventional therapy can save your life.

A study out of the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA published just last year in the medical journal Chest shows just how effective this treatment is.

The story begins in January 2016, when Dr. Paul Marik was running the intensive care unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. A 48-year-old woman came in with a severe case of sepsis. “Her kidneys weren't working. Her lungs weren't working. She was going to die,” Marik said. “In a situation like this, you start thinking out of the box.” Fortunately, Dr. Marik did think out of the box. He had recently read a study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. In that study, Dr. Barry Fowler and his colleagues had shown some moderate success in treating people who had sepsis with intravenous vitamin C. So, Dr. Marik decided to give it a try.

Along with the conventional treatment for sepsis, he added in a large dose of intravenous vitamin C along with a small dose of vitamin B1 (thiamine). “I was expecting the next morning when I came to work she would be dead,” said the good doctor. “But when I walked in the next morning, I got the shock of my life.” The patient was well on the road to recovery.

So, like any good doctor would, Dr. Marik tried the same treatment with his next two sepsis patients. Amazingly, he was surprised again. They both survived. Statistically, at least one of these patients would have died. But, that’s not all.

What I like about Dr. Marik’s attitude is that he didn’t stop there. He didn’t wait 15 years for several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies while his patients were busy dying. The vitamin C infusion was safe and inexpensive, and so far, it had been 100% effective. He wasn’t willing to risk any more lives just to wait for a study.  And that’s exactly what he did for the next 47 patients with sepsis. His patients were very lucky that he was their doctor. Because without his dedication, many of them would not be alive today.

Of the 47 patients, the usual death rate would have been 30%, or 14 patients. But, using the new therapy, only four of them died – and all of those deaths were from other diseases. Not one of them died from sepsis. For comparison, he reviewed the charts of another 47 sepsis patients previously treated at the hospital using only the conventional treatment, without the vitamin C infusion. As expected, 19 of them never made it out of the hospital. But, it gets even better.

Because the results were so stunning, Dr. Marik decided that from that point on he would treat all his sepsis patients with the vitamin C infusion. So far, he's treated about 150 patients, and only one has died of sepsis!

In Marik’s protocol he used 6 grams of intravenous vitamin C daily. What about side effects or complications? There were none. Intravenous vitamin C is about as safe a medical treatment as there is. As alternative doctors know, a 6 gram IV infusion of vitamin C, even though it seems high to conventional doctors, is actually a pretty low dose. We often use doses in the order of 25-100 grams per day without any significant side effects.

So, here we have a treatment that is entirely safe and inexpensive, and can obviously save many lives – up to 300,000 a year. The only problem with it is that it is “unproven” and not patentable. So, most ICU doctors treating sepsis will never have heard about it. That’s why you should keep this reference handy. That way, if you or a loved one ever develops sepsis, you can show the article (referenced below) to the treating doctor, and get him to immediately follow Dr. Marik’s protocol.


Marik PE, Khangoora V, et al. Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: A Retrospective Before-After Study. Chest. Volume 151, Issue 6, June 2017, Pages 1229-1238

Doctor Turns Up Possible Treatment For Deadly Sepsis by Richard Harris, NPR Morning Addition: March 23, 201712:01 AM ET

Gann, Carri and Dr. Bruce Geryk. “Sepsis: Blood Poisoning Kills Thousands, But No Drugs to Help,” Good Morning America, July 17, 2012.

Kariakin, A.M., V.V. Kucher, P.A. Susla, and B.L. Kofman. “Hemosorption and ultraviolet irradiation of the blood in the treatment of acute septicemia.” Vestn Khir Im I Grek. 1983 April;130(4):109-12.

Zhidkov, K.P., V.Z. Klechikov, and M.N. Bogatyr. “Experience in the treatment of severe forms of sepsis by extracorporeal therapy and hyperbaric oxygenation.” Anesteziol Reanimatol. 1997 May-June;(3):49-51.


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