God bless Thai Navy Seal, Petty Officer Beirut Pakbara, whose death should sadden all of us. Pakbara was one of the trained Thai Seal team members that aided with the rescue of a youth football team trapped in a flooded cave in 2018. He undoubtedly saves lives and I consider people who unselfishly saves lives to be worthy of being called “heroes.”
Of course, the infection he died of has not been reported to us, but we do have some clues, don’t we? First, the reports claim that a “rare infection” spread throughout his body. I’m certain that rare bacteria exist, but based on the next fact, fungus was the likely culprit. A flooded underground cave harbors many disease-causing germs, not the least of which are fungal germs and when inhaled can disseminate throughout the body. I waited to publish this blog for a few months until an autopsy confirmed the rare germ involved in Pakbara’s death, but I’ve yet to find such a report.
For the past 3 years, our American Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been publishing that our doctors need to “think fungus” when infections don’t clear up. Although, to the best of my knowledge the CDC hasn’t so boldly stated this, I believe that they are begging our doctors to offer all patients a “differential fungal diagnosis” when round after round of antibiotics don’t work. Why don’t doctors learn this in medical school?
Pakbara likely suffered from numerous health problems before his untimely death, not the least of which would have been respiratory distress, clearly indicating an inhaled disease-causing fungal infection. He was likely prescribed handfuls of antibiotics, which I believe may have worsened his health problems, if, in fact he died of a fungal infection. Antibiotics tend to fuel fungal infections. Sadly, I believe deaths like his are widespread as the words “infection” and “bacteria” have erroneously become synonyms in medicine.