“Plasmid research seemed a perfect fit: he [Cohen] knew the necessary molecular and biochemical techniques, and the growing medical problem of antibiotic resistance was an appropriate topic for a physician” – Hughes, p7
This topic of antibiotic resistance really interested me because as a speech-language-hearing sciences major, we discuss the topic of overprescribed antibiotics and the possibility of antibiotic resistance specifically in regards to ear infections in children. Antibiotic resistance is natural phenomenon where the bacteria resists an antibiotic and has a greater chance of surviving because it grows stronger than the antibiotic itself. According to Claire McCarthy, M.D., from Parents Magazine, as bacteria becomes more and more exposed to antibiotics, potentially because of the overprescription, the bacteria actually changes over time so that the antibiotics becomes less effective. The antibiotics are still able to cure the weaker strands of bacteria, but the stronger strands that are capable of defying the antibiotics treatment grow and multiply. When Hughes mentioned antibiotic resistance it prompted me to question why antibiotic resistance occurs, and why antibiotics are overprescribed even when some illnesses, such as certain ear infections, can cure themselves. The conclusion I came to as to why antibiotics are overprescribed is that it is based on a mix between parental pressures on doctors, and doctors serving as businesspeople. When a parent takes their child to the pediatrician, and their child is in pain or discomfort, obviously the parent is going to want their child to get better as soon as possible. The recent generation of parents seem to rely on antibiotics as the only way to cure illnesses, and I can see how a parent may pressure a physician to prescribe an antibiotic so that their child gets better immediately. On the other hand, the doctor may be practicing unethically if he or she prescribes antibiotics in order to benefit the business side of medicine.