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Real-life Story: Doctor Who Drank Infectious Broth To Prove His Research!

Experimenting on medicines is not a joke. It involves a lot of risks, as the medicines are tried first on the rats or guinea pigs and then on humans under a controlled environment. But what happens if you wish to prove your research right and no other person is willing to check?

Well, this is what happened in Barry J. Marshall's life, where he wanted to prove his research on stomach ulcers and that the cancer could be caused by the bacteria from the body itself.

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Though the medics assumed about the prior research on the subject, they were reluctant to learn about his research.

Hence, Barry decided to prove his point by consuming an infectious broth himself and risked his life. He was 100% sure and hence wanted to save many lives with this discovery.


Check out more about how it all started…

Barry was training in Internal Medicine, along with another pathologist, J. Robin Warren, when they found a bacteria in the stomach biopsies. They initially believed that bacteria could not survive in the acidic stomach environment. But the duo were keen on learning more about it.

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They Discovered

In their research, they soon discovered that many gastritis and stomach ulcer patients had the spiral bacteria, which is currently known as "Helicobacter pylori". Barry realised that antibiotics could replace the current treatments for ulcers.


He Became The Guinea Pig

When the scientific team believed that the ulcers were caused by stress or diet, and that the bacteria H. pylori played a role in the formation of ulcers, to prove his point on the bacteria playing the actual role, he decided to become the human guinea pig, as testing the experiment on the lab animals was not feasible.


He Drank The Infected Broth

Barry drank a concoction made from cultured bacteria. In a span of few days, he came down with gastritis. The examinations revealed that he had an inflamed stomach and taking antibiotics cured him.


He Was Awarded For This

Barry's work was appreciated and he was honoured in 2007 by being named a Companion of the Order of Australia. This award was the highest civic honour received in the country. Apart from this, he won several other awards for his research.

Story first published: Thursday, November 23, 2017, 18:47 [IST]
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