American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine students Alexandra Tibil, Mallory Brosious, Christina Gearges, and Morcos Fahmy recently presented their research poster at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Maryland Chapter Conference. The co-authored poster focused on a case where an infrequently used antibiotic treated a strain of pseudomonas aeruginosa that was resistant to all other tested antibiotics.

The patient in this case, an 80-year-old male, had been admitted to the emergency department with a 39°C fever, abdominal distention, and mild costovertebral angle tenderness. He had been hospitalized with meningitis three years earlier, and during that time, his catheterization led to a urinary tract infection that proved resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.

With side effects such as kidney and brain toxicity, the antibiotic Colistin is generally regarded as a last resort drug. But in this case, the doctor overseeing the patient administered Colistin and closely monitored renal function, successfully treating the infection, avoiding kidney damage, and saving the patient’s life.

“I know the patient very well – he’s my grandfather,” said Alexandra Tibil, a fourth-year medical student finishing her core rotations. “This case was interesting to me for several reasons: my grandfather was severely sick before this happened, but Colistin is a tricky antibiotic due to its possible side effects, especially for elderly patients. As a current medical student, it was fascinating to watch how the physician properly monitored and adjusted the dosage of this antibiotic because no other antibiotic was working. After the treatment was completed, my grandfather went into remission.”

For Tibil, presenting at the ACP Conference was an exciting opportunity. The students had the chance to present their case in front of other medical students and judges representing the medical community.

“It was great to meet top med students from schools like Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland and see their projects,” said Tibil. “We learned how important it is to be well-prepared and know how to tell your story. We’re now trying to write our case up and have it published in a journal.”

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