Above Image from Source Magazine
Its been reported that although Hugh Hefner ultimately died of cardiac arrest, he was additionally battling respiratory failure, a drug resistant E. coli infection and septicemia (blood infection) leading up to his September 27th passing.
TMZ and the LA times reported his Los Angeles Health Department death certificate stated the 6 day-long infection Hefner had been fighting was “highly resistant to antibiotics, unknown etiology,” meaning the origin of the E. coli infection was not known.
Each of these conditions can individually cause cardiac arrest, a stopping of the heart, and each can also be deadly in their own right. Respiratory failure occurs when the lungs can’t meet the oxygen demands of the body. An E. coli bacterial infection that cannot be controlled with antibiotics can spread to other parts of the body. such as the lungs, causing respiratory failure as well. If an infection spreads throughout the blood stream, sepsis ensues and a patient can go into shock, ultimately ending in cardiac arrest.
E. coli, can cause mild illness but in older individuals or those with chronic conditions, the severity skyrockets. Moreover with its increasing resistance, E. coli is becoming a Superbug.
What is a Superbug?
A superbug is a pathogen, most commonly bacteria, that can survive antibiotics that most species would buckle under. It’s resistance could be caused by a variety of factors. Maybe it has a mutation that makes it stronger. Maybe its genetic material shields it from the toxic medicine. Maybe it’s luck. So shortly after it celebrates surviving the antibiotic assault, it divides to reproduce, making more bacteria. If this progeny bacteria maintain the same genetic material as its parent, or if included, mutation, they can be now be resistant to the antibiotics as well.
Drug resistant E. coli – image from BBC
According to the CDC: Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections
The Playboy founder was laid to rest three days later, in a private ceremony, next to the grave of Marilyn Monroe.
Cooper Hefner, his son and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in a statement, “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.”
Last year rumors surfaced that Hugh Hefner was battling health issues and suffered significant weight loss. In 1985 he was 58 years old when he suffered a minor stroke. His daughter Christie subsequently assumed more of a role of the Playboy empire, later becoming CEO.
Even though his doctor stated the stroke was not life threatening, Hefner stated in an interview at that time, “My recovery is total and something of a miracle. What has happened is actually a ‘stroke of luck’ that I fully expect will change the direction of my life.”
He continued his iconic work that began when Playboy empire was launched in 1953. Rumors circulated in 2011 that Hefner had died of a heart attack, for which he rebutted with, “I’m lying in bed next to Shera with a big smile on my face, reading tweets about my unexpected demise,” as reported by Daily Mail.
This is a developing story.
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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician