Ex-Lt. Governor says hospitals use 'fecal milkshakes'

A former Lieutenant Governor of New York is accusing many hospitals of resorting to "fecal milkshakes" rather than rigorous hygiene to combat "c-diff."

Betsy McCaughey now heads the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths which is aimed at cutting down on infections which patients contract while in the hospital. McCaughey recently put out an informational video with advice on how patients can protect themselves from hospital-borne illnesses. In announcing the video, McCaughey cited the "rapid spread of Clostridium difficile which is commonly called "c-diff". It is an gastro-intestinal disorder that results in extreme diarrhea. McCaughey says it results in 20,000 deaths in the United States annually.

In an interview with CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, McCaughey claims many hospitals are focused on treatment of c-diff including "drastic measures such as fecal milkshakes" in which the feces of a patient's relative is treated and fed to the patient through a feeding tube or enema. The intent of the "fecal milkshake" is to provide the patient with bacteria that can ward off the c-diff infection. The process is also known as a "fecal transplant" or "bacterial therapy."

McCaughey says such therapies are unnecessary if hospitals adhere to "rigorous hygiene" which includes cleaning and sanitizing tables, bedrails, food trays and other surfaces. She says hospitals have been able to reduce c-diff spores by more than 30 percent by simply improving cleanliness.

Crouse Hospital spokesman Robert Allen says infection control experts he contacted refer to it as a "last resort therapy," which is aimed at cutting down on infections patients contract while in the hospital.

A check of hospitals in Syracuse shows none utilize fecal transplants as a means of combating c-diff.