Business, Economics and Jobs

Fecal transplant cures man's C. difficile infection


A woman leaves Pfizer's New York headquarters.



A man in Canada suffered from a bacterial infection known as Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, for 18 months before he took matters into his own hands. He gave himself a controversial new medical procedure last week called a fecal transplant, after running out of other cures.

"It’s a nasty topic to discuss, but fecal transplants work, and I was not ready to wait any longer," the man, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Chronicle Herald

His doctor was supposed to perform the surgery at a hospital last month, but then the hospital essentially refused to allow him treatment. The hospital had approved the treatment, but because there are no set guidelines for it, the procedure could not go ahead, the Chroncile Herald said. 

So instead, he took stool donated from his cousin and performed the surgery in his own bathroom. 

"He did it by himself?" his surprised doctor asked the Herald.

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C. diff is a tough stomach bacteria that has been becoming more common, Wired Magazine reported. It can be resistant to antibiotic drugs. In fact, the infection can even be caused by antibiotics used to treat other infections, the Scientific American reported.

Some researchers believe that the devastating infection can be cured by inserting feces from a healthy person into the sick person's stomach. One woman that Wired interviewed had run out of options before finding a doctor to perform the procedure. She was cured within hours, the magazine said. But the procedure hasn't been approved by the National Institutes of Health for a clinical trial, the Scientific American reported in December, because feces is not a drug, device or vaccine.

"You can’t monetize feces," Wired noted, "making it unlikely that pharmaceutical companies, the major funders of US biomedical research, would support research involving them."

The Canadian man told the Chronicle Herald last week that he is "feeling good" following his D.I.Y surgery.