The patient was dying of sepsis and the doctor (Paul Marik, MD) pulled out a bag of medicine and hanged it on the bedside. Nothing else was working. He was skeptical. He added a steroid onto it and went home. The next morning, patient had improved so much she was removed from four different inotropic medications. Her kidney function was better. Her breathing better.

Three days later, she left the ICU.

Ten days later, another patient, a paraplegic, arrived in the ICU with sepsis, and Marik prescribed the same thing. That patient improved as well.

A third patient, a man so sick with pneumonia he was on a ventilator, also received the treatment. The results were the same.

Marik’s response: “What just happened?”

He suggested changing the protocol for patients who arrived with sepsis. He also added another ingredient to the concoction: thiamine, which is Vitamin B.

At first, doctors and nurses were skeptical. But gradually they were all sold.

They started tracking the numbers, comparing them with patients who came through the ICU with sepsis the previous year.

A study published online in December by CHEST, an American College of Chest Physicians medical journal, revealed the results:

In 47 patients with sepsis treated in Norfolk General’s ICU, four died in 2016, an 8 percent mortality rate. Of those four, none died of sepsis but rather the conditions that led to sepsis in the first place. The previous year, 19 of 47 septic patients died, a 40 percent mortality rate.

Medical residents started calling the concoction “miracle juice.” Marik dubbed it “the cure for sepsis.”

Kurt Hofelich, Norfolk General’s president, said the protocol is being rolled out to other ICUs in the health system to validate the findings.

“We hypothesize that this new treatment will evolve into a national best practice and a new standard of care for patients with sepsis in an ICU level of care environment,” Hofelich said in a prepared statement released today.

“Half think it’s cool and half think this is hooey nonsense. When something is too good to be true, people don’t want to believe it.”

Carlbom said since sepsis results from a lot of different conditions, it could be that the combo could help some more than others, and might even be detrimental to particular ailments.

So he understands why doctors will wait for more study. But Carlbom, who describes himself as an early adopter, says he’s started to try it on his own patients.