Patient Explores Science Behind His Medications

By Mike Howie

Misfortune can strike in the most unlikely of moments. For Pete Beerse, a father of eight and former engineer at Proctor & Gamble, that moment came on a Sunday as he relaxed with his wife on their porch swing. It broke. They fell. He fractured his neck.

The accident left Pete paralyzed. While he still has limited movement in his arms, he lost much of his day-to-day independence. Because his body no longer responds to nerve signals, he no longer sweats and can easily overheat. But through all of this, Pete has remained committed to maintaining a sense of stability for his family, even as he underwent rigorous physical therapy that surpassed workouts from his time as a Penn State track athlete.

Medications are now part of Pete’s daily life. A blood thinner. A muscle relaxer. Bladder medication. Antibiotics. And, because of the intense mental toll of the ordeal, depression and anxiety medication. Without these medications, Pete said, “my quality of life would be drastically different.” The true value of these medications was immediately apparent when he stopped taking them for 48 hours to have surgery.

“It was awful,” he said.

A curious man, Pete decided to investigate the origin of the medications that help him function every day. His search led him to Thermo Fisher Scientific — the manufacturer of some of his medications at facilities in Bourgoin, France; Cincinnati, Ohio; Ferentino, Italy; and Toronto, Canada.

To learn more, Pete visited Thermo Fisher’s Cincinnati facility, where he met R&D and production personnel who gave him a tour of the facility. The tour helped Pete understand the challenging work that goes into manufacturing medications, and the experience gave Thermo Fisher colleagues first-hand experience of just how important — and life changing — their work can be.

"When I look at the size of these pills, how small they are, and yet how meaningful they are to me, that's when I know that everything that people do at Thermo Fisher has a huge impact on our lives and the quality of our life," Pete said.

Pete is still doing physical therapy and working to stay in good health, always watching for the next advance in medical research that could further improve his quality of life. And, with an indomitable spirit, he strives to live life to the fullest. He recently made his first plane trip since the accident, and he saw his daughter get married.

“I’ve learned to count my blessings, not my problems,” Pete said.

Patient Explores Science Behind His Medications