Even before I became a gastroenterologist, many years ago, I remember going to the medical center and sifting through gobs and gobs of data with Cinda Clark and Dr. Anand on liver disease. My favorite topic of study was hepatitis, especially Hepatitis C. After collecting and analyzing reams of data I would come home with mixed feelings about the therapies available at the time. Then I did my fellowship in gastroenterology and setup practice in Sugar Land, TX. As my career progressed, I always kept my ear to the ground about emerging treatment modalities to treat the most daunting of all Hepatitis variants – Hep C. Finally, last year was the year of deliverance for many of my patients who suffered the ravages of this disease. As a doctor it is never easy to tell any patient that she needs to go on the liver transplant wait list, especially since this disease has a way of sneaking up unexpectedly. Hepatitis C hits one like a train out of nowhere.
We now have drugs that have high cure rates for this horrible disease that wreaked havoc on many unsuspecting patients and their families. Certain genotypes have such high rates of cure that I finally feel vindicated. Having fought this enemy for fifteen long years, I am finally watching it wither and die. Of course, there’s still a catch: we need to screen for and detect this disease early on. My only regret is that these miracle drugs were not discovered sooner. Imagine how many more wonderful lives we could have saved! C’est la vie.