An uncommon cure: Rare life-saving surgery performed in El Paso

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A rare life-saving surgery is now available in El Paso. 15-year-old Jackson Garcia underwent the unique procedure called Fecal Microbial Transplant. It had never been done on a child in El Paso before him.

Jackson has been Dr. Aldo Maspons’ patient since he was 10-years-old. Dr. Maspons is a pediatric gastroenterologist with an office in West El Paso.

“If he wasn’t my doctor, I don’t think I would be here,” said Jackson.

He was diagnosed with more than one disease targeting his digestion.

“It’s common for people to have one disease but it’s not common for people to have two diseases, especially in kids,” said the Dr. Maspons.

Jackson also developed allergies to every food making eating nearly impossible. For seven months, he only ate broth with chicken and rice.

Then on top of that, Jackson developed the potentially-deadly infection called C Diff.

“It’s like a monster virus. It would not go away. We tried antibiotics. We did all these other things and it wouldn’t go away,” Jackson said.

The infection in the stomach and intestines often means losing your colon.

Jackson struggled to eat. He lost about 20 pounds. He was in so much pain, he could hardly get out of bed.

“I was really sick. I was in bed, pale. I was feeling horrible, vomitting and stuff,” he said.

“He just didn’t want to live sometimes,” said his mom Melecia Garcia.

The solution was to remove the C. Diff from Jacksons body. It seems simple enough but it’s a procedure that raises some eyebrows.

“The insurance companies and some institutions in the city were very hesitant to start something called Fecal Microbial Transplant which is basically getting poop stool from a healthy person and putting it into Jackson,” Dr. Maspons explains.

The healthy stool donation would end up coming from Jackson’s mom.

The goal was to get her son’s body to start creating healthy bacteria. With traditional medicine not working, Garcia was all for it.

“I was a little unnerved that I was going to be putting my stool in his colon but I had complete faith in Dr. Maspons,” she said.

Today, Jackson is cured, less than a year after his first procedure but his mother tells me it only took hours for her to notice improvement in her son.
 
“Jackson woke up with a different demeanor,” she said.
 
“He has been symptom free for a year now when before we spent almost year battling this infection,” Dr. Maspons said.

“This is the first time in 5 years that he has no belly pain. So not only did it help with the C Diff but it helped stabilize his diagnosis of Chrons,” said Garcia.

Dr. Maspons is convinced he’s not hero. From his perspective, he is just doing his job and he is happy to help.

“Just because it’s not the most common thing, it’s the right thing and so we shouldn’t be afraid,” he said.

Mom said she hopes her ordeal gives hope to others struggling with C Diff. She credits Dr. Maspons with saving her son’s life.

“If it had not been for him taking the initiative and overcome these challenges from the stigma of an FMT, I honestly believe my son was not be here today,” said Garcia.

She has been creating natural oils and creams to help treat Jackson’s pain, something she now makes available to others also suffering from pain.

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