Life, Death, and Red Tape


Earlier this month, a Santa Cruz, California family inadvertently ate some poisonous mushrooms they'd collected in a nearby woods. The "death cap" mushroom they ate is often fatal, and there's no antidote approved for use in the U.S.

The doctor on call at Dominican Hospital did a search on Google Scholar, and found that in some parts of Europe, intravenous administration of an extract from the milk thistle plant had been used to effectively treat poisoning from this particular variety of mushroom.

Enter the FDA. The treatment isn't approved in the United States. So the doctors next embarked on a harrowing battle with various bureaucracies to get the drug to the U.S. from the manufacturer in Germany in time to treat the family.

The good news is that they succeeded, and managed to save five of the six patients.

Story here .