In A Frank Self-Examination, Doctors Explore How An Experimental Fecal Transplant Turned Fatal
Fecal transplants have lots of buzz surrounding them, but then a death of one patient sent ripples of concern through the field of study. In an article, the doctors take a hard look at what went wrong.
The New York Times:
How Contaminated Stool Stored In A Freezer Left A Fecal Transplant Patient Dead
In a frank and public act of self-examination, a group of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital published an article Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine detailing the missteps that led to the death of a cancer patient who received a fecal transplant as part of an experimental trial. The man who died, and another who became severely ill, had received fecal matter from a donor whose stool turned out to contain a type of E. coli bacteria that was resistant to multiple antibiotics. (Jacobs, 10/30)
New Details Emerge In Case Of First Death From Fecal Transplant
The man was a participant in a clinical trial run at Massachusetts General Hospital and received fecal transplant capsules made in November with fecal material from one stool donor, according to a paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tests after the man’s death revealed that material contained a rare type of E. coli bacteria. MGH scientists started screening for those kinds of bacteria in January. However, the hospital did not test capsules they’d already produced, researchers disclosed in a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Sheridan, 10/30)
A Fecal Transplant Led To A Patient's Death. Here's What Happened.
“This is a cautionary and sad tale,” Hohmann told NBC News. “It points out some of the important medical issues about immune-compromised [patients] and maybe that changing the microbiome is not always a good idea.” Following the patient death, the FDA announced guidelines requiring that both donors and their stool be screened for multidrug-resistant organisms, including the one implicated in these two cases. But it’s important to remember that there may be other such organisms out there that aren’t being screened for, Hohmann said. “We can increase the ways we look for this, but we can’t 100 percent eliminate it,” she added. (Carroll, 10/30)