Massachusetts ‘Stool Bank' Helps Doctors Treat Ailments

A Massachusetts company is working alongside local doctors to treat a painful stomach ailment by using human feces.

Ashley Hannon says her health, was spinning out of control. At first doctors thought she had a severe case of the flu but they weren’t sure.

Hannon lost more than 70 pounds.

“I remember getting in my car crying and saying I know there is something wrong with me,” says Hannon.

Doctors finally diagnosed the 25-year-old with Clostridium Difficile, or C.Diff, a hard to treat bacteria that causes stomach pain, severe diarrhea, and in some cases even death.

“My wife is sitting there wasting away in pain and there is nothing you can do,” said Ashley's husband, Scott Hannon.

Hannon took antibiotics, but that didn’t work. As a last resort, Doctor Jessica Allegretti at Brigham and Women’s Hospital made an unusual recommendation.

“We now know the best way to get rid of C. Diff is with a fecal transplant to balance out the bad bacteria,” Allegretti explained.

Openbiome is the Somerville based non-profit, processing feces from donors, and sending it out to hospitals all across the country, including Dr Allegretti’s lab.

“We’ve got over 800 hospitals using our material. we’ve sent treatments to over 24,000 patients,” says Openbiome’s Dr. Majdi Osman. “In the simplest of terms, we are like a blood bank for poop.”

Even though it’s hard to avoid cracking a smile every time visitors pass the turd emojis and balloons at this stool bank… it’s serious business. Donors get $40 every donation and it’s a selective process, allowing only the best of the best, into the pipeline.

“Only about three percent of people that inquire pass all of the careful standards,” says a donor, who only wants to go by the name Meghan.

Hannon says after two months taking the pills, she regained control of her life, going back to work and recently getting married. all because someone else’s waste, turned into a cure.

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