Stool transplant cures Naples man’s bacterial infection

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A warning about an antibiotic-resistant bacteria: something called C. diff can kill you. But a Southwest Florida doctor’s office is working on something that can treat it. One patient said he sees positive results.

Naples resident Sean Kenny contracted a Clostridium difficile {klos-TRID-e-um dif-uh-SEEL} or C. diff bacterial infection a few years ago after treatment for pneumonia.

“It drains your body of nutrients very, very quickly,” Kenny said.

And that bacteria lives in the large intestine. If it gets out of control, it can cause a lot of problems.

“Severe cramping, diarrhea, no form stools ever,” Kenny said.

Kenny took more antibiotics to treat his symptoms, but he couldn’t cover the costs, so his gastroenterologist, Dr. Raymond Phillips, recommended a stool transplant.

“You can cure an individual’s tendency to have recurring infections,” Dr. Phillips said.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers stool transplants an experimental treatment for C. diff, Phillips said it gets results.

“There are not many things in medicine where we can say you’re cured of something,” Phillips said.

That means it is 90 percent to 95 percent effective.

A donor’s stool helps reset the microbiome of organisms living in your gut. It’s usually administered during a colonoscopy.

Phillips said insurance providers generally don’t pay for procedures considered experimental. He said it is good to ask a doctor about the potential costs of a transplant. Although experimental, Mayo Clinic said it’s safe and effective.

Kenny said he underwent the procedure, and he has not dealt with C. diff since then.

“To me, it was an absolute godsend,” Kenny said. “It was almost a miraculous cure in the sense that the symptoms went away the next day.”

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