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Maggots & Leeches and Blood, Oh My!

I recently read somewhere that "bleeding is not an acceptable form of healing". While the days of Hippocrates and ancient Egypt are long past, certain things still remain as a way of coping with problems in the 21st century.

Take, for example, the lowly species Theromyzon, more commonly referred to as the leech, and don't forget baby Diptera (i.e., the larva of the common fly).

First, let us take a peek at the leech. Way back when, the "medicinal" use of bloodletting was popular, as doctors believed it would clear a person of their bad blood and thus be less likely to die / get sick from diseases. While not a form used today, very similarly, physicians will employ leeches in the promotion of healing tissues after a surgery (especially with grafted skin). Their bite produces a mild "anesthetic" while also thinning the blood to promote flowing. Doctors place them at the boundary between new skin & old so they can rid the area of excess blood and clotting, thus allowing the new skin the ability to connect with the veins in the old.

Disgusting as that may sound (a leech or three sucking away at your surgery site for the sole purpose of eating your blood), let us proceed, if we can, to the thought of the fly larvae mentioned earlier.

Now, no one can deny if we stumble across a rotting carcass in the woods, crawling with maggots, it's a sight (and smell!) which is nothing short of repulsive.

HOWEVER, keep in mind what maggots do - they eat dead tissue. So, not only do they aid in cleaning up said rotting carcass (from which we will hasten as if the Devil himself chases us), but according to USAToday (in a dated article I stumbled across - this is also where I found some of the info on the leeches), they're also approved as "medical devices".

That is: If after a surgery a wound is not healing and drugs cannot help, maggots can be brought in to "treat" the area by removing - as they do by EATING - the dead tissue, thus allowing the new tissue to get blood flow and promote growth. This is known as "Maggot Therapy".

Mmmm, yummy.

Admit it, it's gross, but it works. If - Heaven forbid - I were ever to find myself in a predicament to need the aid of such humble origins as the leech or the larva of a fly...could I, WOULD I allow myself to be subjected to their creepy "therapy"?

Indeed. Who'm I to judge?