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Breakthrough treatment could provide relief to many in the East Midlands

Doctors at Kings Mill Hospital have for the first time provided a treatment which could in future help dozens of East Midlands people overcome gut infections caused by the C. diff superbug.

They have transplanted healthy intestinal bacteria from a daughter to her pensioner mum who was fighting repeated bouts of illness caused by C. diff. The 92-year-old had been left weak and virtually housebound after the infection failed to respond to more conventional drugs or treatments at the Hospital.

Now, just two weeks after her bacteria transplant, the patient Betty is joyous about being both symptom and infection free.

She said: “I feel fantastic. I just can’t thank everyone at Kings Mill enough. Before I had this done I couldn’t go out, and now there’s nothing stopping me. It’s wonderful, just wonderful.”

From day one, Betty and her daughter Cheryl saw a difference. “Mum had a cup of tea immediately after the transplant, and the same day we had ham salad for tea – there were no ill effects whatsoever.” said her daughter Cheryl.

Betty was treated by consultant microbiologist Dr Shrikant Ambalkar, together with his colleagues, gastroenterologist Dr Anthony Shonde, infection control nurses Rebecca Holmes and Diane Scott, and endoscopy assistant Bob Nutter, at Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield, which is part of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The treatment involves liquidising a healthy donor’s poo. This is then infused into a patient’s gut to recolonize it with healthy bacteria. The treatment can be carried out in one day, with no need for an overnight stay.

Dr Ambalkar said: “Although the concept of putting somebody else’s poo in your gut sounds very unpleasant, even disgusting, this kind of colonoscopy procedure is the most successful way of treating debilitating repeated attacks of the C. diff infection, which doesn’t respond well to standard treatment.”