Emily’s Story – A Pneumonia Patient’s Story

I have a very personal interest in antibiotics, and in particular penicillin, because it saved my life. As a child of just 4 years old in 1945, Forest Hills, New York, I got pneumonia, and it was serious. My father worked for the Associated Press News Agency and he had been sent to Europe at the end of World War II, so my poor mother had to cope with my illness on her own.

It turned out that I was allergic to sulfa drugs, the first antibiotics. Without penicillin, which had only just become available, I would have died.

Thanks to penicillin, I survived. I went on to live a wonderfully complicated life – after my illness my mother and I joined my father in Paris, where we lived until 1956, when he was posted to Delhi. In 1958 he was sent to London, and that has been my base ever since.

Antibiotics are lifesavers, and it’s very important that they aren’t just handed out for the sniffles, because we need them to save lives like mine.

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