When my father was a medical student in Cork in the 1940s he saw the first antibiotics brought to Cork and he was suitably impressed by their miraculous qualities. He didn’t stop giving the odd lecture to students himself until he was 75 and by then he was able to tell his students that he had seen the whole arc of antibiotics from their first use to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant super bugs. To be frank, things haven’t improved in the 17 years since. In 2008, my uncle died of MRSA acquired when in hospital for another (successful) procedure. My father kept our family religiously away from antibiotics and no matter how ill we were, we never had them. I used to bitterly watch my classmates popping them like smarties. It looks like our sacrifice may have, however, been insufficient and the days of antibiotics are numbered. Isn’t that a rather depressing thought? Is everything going backwards at the moment?