As a young mom with a very sick toddler, Tatum Williams would have done anything -- no matter how odd -- to make her baby better.
So when doctors told her that 20-month-old Jesse’s last chance to cure a life-threatening gut infection was to transfer a stool sample -- yes, poop -- from mother to son, Williams didn’t blink.
“I was all for it,” recalled the 28-year-old mother of two from Baltimore.
After some research, she quickly agreed to what’s known as Fecal Microbiota Transplantation, or FMT, an unusual treatment used to battle serious, recurrent diarrhea and other symptoms caused by a nasty bug called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff.
“We had been dealing with his C. diff for nine months,” said Williams. “He was losing weight because of everything he would lose in his diaper.”
Jesse may have been the youngest child ever to undergo the treatment that transfers feces from a healthy donor to help repopulate the beneficial bacteria in an infected colon. But as far as Williams was concerned, there was no choice.
“It couldn’t get any worse,” she said.
Dr. Sudhir K. Dutta, the head of the gastroenterology department at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, agreed. The curly-haired toddler was suffering all of the signs of the dangerous, contagious infection that has become increasingly common, sickening more than 300,000 patients a year in U.S. hospitals and causing some 14,000 deaths, according to federal health officials.
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