After nine months of hospital and doctor visits, a young boy received an unusual, life-saving stool transplant from his brother.
Doctors diagnosed 3-year-old Michael Ham with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), an intestinal tract infection resulting from the use of antibiotics
“Initially, we went to the hospital for dehydration in February,” (2014) said Michael’s mom, Rachel Donegan Ham.
“He stayed there for eight days because he couldn’t stop throwing up and having diarrhea.”
Doctors took a chance giving Michael another antibiotic. It worked for a few weeks, then he relapsed and began wasting away.
Four months of constant doctor visits finally turned into a diagnosis.
Antibiotics kill both the bad and good bacteria in intestines. In some cases they cause the bad bacteria, C. diff, to multiply and cause life-altering and sometimes deadly infections.
Dr. Sujal Rangwalla, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Seton Dell Children’s Hospital, (Texas) suggested an experimental treatment only performed on two patients at that facility. He recommended Michael have a fecal transplant.
“We take a stool specimen from a sibling or family member and place it in the patient to see if it helps regenerate their normal florum,” Rangwalla said.
So on Aug. 7, Michael and his older brother Bryan arrived at Dell Children’s in hopes of a miracle.
He was improving a few days after the transplant. Within weeks, doctors declared him cured.
“So many doctors want the proof before they do the treatment, and he listened to his heart and it saved Michael,” Rachel Ham said.
Hospital records show C. diff is linked to more than * 30,000 deaths a year in the United States. It sickens more than half a million Americans a year, mostly older people.
About 500 people around the world have undergone fecal transplants, and doctors say this antibiotic-resistant bacteria is evidence of a bigger problem.
Tips to fight antibiotic resistance include avoiding taking antibiotics unless necessary. Anyone who is prescribed an antibiotic should take the full dosage.
People should also limit the amount of antibiotic soap and hand sanitizer used in their households.
Rachel Ham reigns as the C Diff Foundation’s Pediatric Support Team Leader working in cooperation with Tiffani Eberflus, Chairperson of the Pediatric Support, Research and Development Committee. The Foundation sincerely applauds their efforts and participation in both their support of the Foundation and their diligent strides in raising C. difficile awareness/prevention/treatments worldwide.
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