Sam's Case History


*updated 3-25-99 at bottom of page*

Hello!  My name is Beth and I am writing a case history for my 9 month old son, Sam.

Here is Sam's Story, feel free to include my email address so that I may help others!

Sam's problem was not due to antibiotics.  Unusual, but not impossible, according to his GI specialist.   My theory is that I breastfed for 3 weeks, then switched to formula.  He had a bout of diarrhea at 4 weeks, which may have upset his intestinal flora.  As one GI doc explained it to me, c diff is a wimpy bacteria, but opportunistic.  If everything "good" is wiped out of the intestine, it can overgrow.  Maybe that is how it started.

Sam had loose stools with blood (first only visible with a hemmocult card) since we tested him at 6 weeks.  Funny thing is that the assay test for c diff toxin was never positive, and he was tested 3 times.  GI doc said it can be hard to test for.  Well, originally the docs thought that Sam had a milk/soy allergy, and put him on hypoallergenic formula (Nutramigen).  This did not improve the blood issue, and by 3 months, I could see the blood in his stool, plus there was a lot of mucous also.  Sam went from having only 2 bowel movements a day (on soy formula before this all happened) to having as many as 8 per day.  The regular pediatricians were basically useless, and I urge any parents who suspect anything unusual to see a specialist as soon as possible.  We took him to a pediatric GI specialist.  C diff test was still negative, and the doc said that the only way to nail this down would be through a scope.  After thinking it over, we decided that was the only way to help Sam.  Our little one was only 4 months old and we were very scared.  But it was at the point where Sam would have such messy movements that his diaper always leaked, and he had to be fed while wearing a towel in your lap.  Needless to say, I was always hesitant to take him anywhere, or dress him in the beautiful clothes he received as gifts.  I wasn't enjoying this beautiful baby we waited so long for.  Thankfully, Sam continued to gain weight throughout this illness, and develop normally.

Sam had the colonoscopy done on 7-31-98.  The worst part was the insertion of a gastronasal tube and the flushing of his system.  They do this slowly with an electrolyte solution.  It took 4 hours, during which Sam thankfully slept most of the time.  Once he was cleaned out, the doctor had to be called in to insert an iv.  Because Sam was so little, they had to do this in his scalp, which was so hard to look at.  Poor thing.  The pediatrician assured me it was common to do this.

By the time they were ready for the scope, Sam was in a happy mood, smiling at the nurses and stuff.  They let me carry him to the room.  He was sedated with a mild sedative, which put him to sleep (thankfully).  The procedure was done very quickly.  Sam slept for several hours at the hospital, and when he woke, he even ate some formula.  He was his old self again that nite.

The doctor came in right after it was done, and showed us the pictures. Sam's infection was so severe it led to ulcerative colitis and this was the source of the blood.  This was the only way he could tell it was likely c diff, even though the assays were negative.  He perscribed vancomycin orally.  At this point I was relieved, since I thought he could take the vanco and be done with the infection.  I was sadly mistaken...

I should mention that Sam's stools had a very distinctive foul odor during the infection.  After 1 dose of vancomycin, the odor was gone.  After a 10 day course, he was much better.  HOWEVER, Sam had 2 relapses of the infection, which is very common according to his specialist.   He was put on every other day vancomycin (for 6 weeks), then he went to every 3 days for 2 weeks, then every 4 days for 2 weeks, then to once a week.  As I write this (1-7-99), Sam is still taking 3 doses of oral vancomycin every Sunday.  He sees his pediatric GI specialist on 1-13-99, and I am hoping we can stop treatment.

One very important note:  When I returned to work in September of 98, Sam started daycare and of course came down with colds.  He has had 5 ear infections since October 1, 1998.  First time he was treated with Amoxil, and had diarrhea, but not c diff (no foul odor, no blood).  The last four (including the one he is on now 1-7-99) were Cefzil.  No diarrhea on Cefzil.  Of course I was terrified the c diff would return, it has not. Sam may need to take a small dose of antibiotic each night through the cold season to prevent ear infections.  I will disscuss the choice of antibiotic with his pediatrician and GI specialist.

One tip:  I started Sam on Primadophilus for Children (in 9/98) a powder which has live yogurt culture.  The theory is that it may help to crowd out the bad bacteria.  I add this powder to his bottle.  It is available at health food stores.  I don't know if it helped, but it can't hurt.  He will take this stuff as long as he is under my roof!!!!!!!

More stats:  Sam continues to thrive!  We live in the Philadelphia area. Please visit our website to see his pictures:  You may email me from this page; I would be glad to help anyone, especially parents of babies with c diff. I am finally enjoying my Son so much more since his c diff is (hopefully) gone.  I no longer have to feed him with a towel on my lap and I do not think twice about dressing him up and taking him out!!!!! 



Update 1-18-99

Sam saw his pediatric GI doctor on 1-13-99. His weight and height gains were determined to be very good, and the fact that c diff has not returned despite 5 rounds of antibiotics for ear infections (amoxil once thencefzil) led the doctor to stop the weekly vancomycin Sam was on for thelast 8 weeks. I continue to give him Primadophilus, and watch him closely for any symptoms.

Update 2-6-99

Sam has been asymptomatic since 10/98.  Hurray for Sam!   Tough little guy....

Update 3-25-99

Just wanted to let you all know that Sam will be 2 next week and he is doing
great!  No reoccurance of the c diff monster!

I have been contacted by many moms and dads who found my email address on Sam's
case history page.  I have been able to share my experience with them, and have
made a few good email buddies!

Thanks again for this great site.

Take care,


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