24/10/2012 14:17 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mum Saves Toddler Son's Life By Giving Him A Sample Of Her Poo

Mum saves her toddler son's life by giving him a sample of her poo Alamy

If you don't have kids it is the kind of thing you might baulk at, but mum Tatum Williams was prepared to do anything to cure her sick child - including giving him a sample of her poo.

It's not the most conventional treatment we've ever heard of – but it's one that any parent would give to make their child better.

Which is why when Tatum was told how she could cure her little boy's life-threatening gut-infection, she didn't flinch – and gave doctors the go-ahead to transfer a sample of faeces from her own bowels into her 20-month-old son Jesse's.

"I was all for it," said the 28-year-old mother of two from Baltimore, U.S.

Jesse had the bacteria Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., in his gut which caused severe diarrhoea.

After several attempts to cure him by other means, doctors turned to Jesse's mum and suggested the unusual procedure, known as Faecal Microbiota Transplantation, or FMT. This helps to repopulate the beneficial bacteria in an infected colon.

"We had been dealing with his C. diff for nine months," said Tatum. "He was losing weight because of everything he would lose in his diaper."

Jesse, who was born at 27 weeks' gestation, has grappled with several problems since birth, including respiratory distress and feeding troubles, all made worse by the C. diff infection.

The little boy had received powerful antibiotics, even an intravenous immunoglobulin -- blood products - injection to battle the infection, to no avail.

Dr. Sudhir K. Dutta, the head of the gastroenterology department at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, who performed the transplant in March, agreed.

"They really had no other option," the doctor said.

Faecal transplants increasingly have been used in adults with success rates as high as 90 percent or more, according to recent reviews.

A recent study found that 43 of 49 patients with C. diff infections recovered swiftly after faecal transplants and had no problems up to three months later. Still, performing the procedure on a toddler was different.

The stool is typically transferred through a tube that runs from the nose to the stomach, or through a colonoscopy.

"The concerns were basically perforation of the bowel in such a young child," explained Dr Dutta. "So fragile, so delicate."

Despite the early worries, the procedure went smoothly and Jesse started to improve almost immediately.

"Within two days, I saw changes," said Tatum. "It was unbelievable. Now, he's a typical two-year-old. He loves playing with cars, Mickey Mouse."