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World TB Day 2019: TB Patient's Contemporary Account Accepted into the Holdings of the Robert Koch Library, Berlin.

Available in print or as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes

Author: Paul Thorn

Paul Thorn's Book, Diary of a Modern Consumptive, is Accepted as Addition to Historic Library Documenting Man's Struggle Against Harmful Bacteria Since 1882.

I wonder how Dr Robert Koch, who visualised tuberculosis for the first time in 1882 would feel about our progress, nearly 140 years later?”
— Paul Thorn
BRIGHTON, EAST SUSSEX, UNITED KINGDOM, March 21, 2019 / -- Diary of a Modern Consumptive by former TB patient, Paul Thorn has been accepted into the holdings of the Robert Koch Library, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin. The German doctor is considered the founder of modern bacteriology. In 1882 he visualised for the first time the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. His discoveries made a significant contribution to the development of the first chemicals developed to attack specific bacteria - he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1905. The library collects literature in accordance with the focal work areas of the Institute. The historical stock from the time of Robert Koch is unique.

Jennifer Furin MD., PhD. of Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, wrote the foreword for the book. She says; “The experience of this devastating illness is the subject of Paul Thorn’s riveting biography, Diary of a Modern Consumptive. In the living pages of this book, we are given a first-hand account of what it is like to live in isolation while battling with a mortal disease. It is a shattering story of the failures of modern medicine when it comes to TB. It is also, however, a miraculous memoir documenting the power of human connectedness even in the face of severe and imposed confinement.”

Both Thorn and Furin agree that the global Public Health strategy to address tuberculosis has failed.

Jennifer Furin says; “Paul’s journey is not an isolated event. Even now, millions of individuals face the same catastrophic experiences he eloquently describes. Much of shared suffering can be attributed to the way the global community has responded to the problem of TB using a public health approach. The public health approach—usually sold as a means of achieving the best results for the most people at the lowest cost—is a weapon often wielded in the war against infectious diseases. While there may be some merits to conceptualizing and responding to the world’s plagues in such a fashion, the public health approach is also incredibly dehumanizing. It sacrifices the pain of individual people on the altar of benefit to an often-abstract human mass. And to date, this public health approach to TB has failed, as seen in the dismal global statistics, the lack of new diagnostic and treatment tools, and the planned exclusion of vulnerable populations, most notably children.”

Furin continues; “There is, however, an alternative TB strategy that could finally turn the tide against this age-old scourge: a human-rights based approach to the disease. Paul provides a blueprint for such an approach in his diary, which stresses the significance of each person’s unique journey with TB. A human rights-based approach to TB means putting the person with TB at the center of all activities and striving to achieve the best possible outcome for every single man, woman, and child who is affected by the disease. It means that all people with TB - regardless of their geographic location or perceived level in society - should be offered the most sensitive diagnostic tests, be treated with the most effective medicines, be provided with all the means to prevent the development of TB, and receive care in a way that allows them to continue to live dignified and productive lives. It does not view the provision of such services as extravagant extras but rather as fundamental basics that form the core of the management of TB.

Paul Thorn says; “There’s no question in my mind that the public health strategy to address the global threat of TB has failed in most recent decades and continues to fail. I wonder how Dr Robert Koch, who visualised tuberculosis for the first time in 1882 would feel about our progress, nearly 140 years later? However, I am thrilled that my book has been accepted into this important library documenting the history of bacteriology since 1882. It’s likely to be there centuries after I’m dead and gone, this must be a milestone for any writer. A real honour.”

Thorn continues: “TB and indeed MDR-TB are treatable and curable. However, many of the older drugs have severe side effects. We live in a world where some children and adults after TB and MDR-TB treatment are left deaf, blind, psychotic, and sometimes unable to leave their homes because they require constant oxygen, but this is considered a ‘treatment success’ by the public health community because the sufferers have also been cured of TB and are therefore non-infectious to the wider population. This doesn’t have to be what ‘success’ looks like. Any strategy to deal with the problem the world faces from Mycobacterium tuberculosis needs to have its roots in a human rights-based approach, a strategy that puts a person with TB and its drug-resistant variants at the centre of all activities associated in curing it to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone.”

Diary of a Modern Consumptive by Paul Thorn is available from Amazon. It’s also available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

Paul Thorn
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"Nocturne" from Diary of a Modern Consumptive by Paul Thorn, (narrated by Adam Smith). Available on Audible and iTunes