Eager little medical devices
August 27, 2006 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Medical maggots are available only by prescription in the US and the UK. Eclipsed by the discovery of penicillin, maggots now may turn out to be effective when anitbiotics stop working. Although the FDA hasn't yet decided exactly how to classify maggots, they are generally considered to be medical devices. The BTER Foundation (BioTherapeutics Education and Research) offers maggot therapy workshops, but no special certification is currently required to use them. As beneficial as they are, their use is not always indicated. And when they showed up on their own in a subacute care facility in Chicago, the patient sued for "at least $50,000".
posted by owhydididoit (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

An interesting site about flies, for atmosphere.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:31 PM on August 27, 2006

leeches are back too, i hear. As long as healing and removal of infection needs more help, all remedies that work should be used--we've depended on magic pills too long maybe.
posted by amberglow at 9:41 PM on August 27, 2006

I also hear trepanation is coming back in style. (WARNING: Photos of a guy getting a hole bored in a his head.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:47 PM on August 27, 2006

Also, hookworms to cure allergies, but I doubt the FDA will be approving that anytime soon.
posted by aye at 9:48 PM on August 27, 2006

The 2005-07-25 issue of The New Yorker has a great article about leeches by John Colanpinto called "Bloodsuckers".
posted by of strange foe at 9:51 PM on August 27, 2006

WTH - you got maggots, so you sue.

What, did the medical staff not offer to take care of the situation? It's not like some med students decided to prank a patient with maggots or anything.

What, you got the flu and now you're going to sue to hospital for negligently infecting you because you passed by the neighbourhood the week before?

posted by porpoise at 10:14 PM on August 27, 2006

Wow. Thanks for the post, Can't wait to try this at home.
posted by pointilist at 10:47 PM on August 27, 2006

One of the experiments with maggots has been on burns and other kinds of cases where there's dead flesh. It turns out that the maggots are extremely efficient at removing dead flesh, but won't attack live flesh.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:44 AM on August 28, 2006


The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 for employee negligence that caused the infestation and denied Sims the prompt care she said she needed and that is guaranteed under Illinois law.

Immediately after discovering her nasty bedfellows, the lawsuit charges, Manor Care was required - under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act - to transfer Sims to a hospital for proper treatment.

Hospital breaks state law--that's prima facie evidence of negligence in the State of Illinois. People should sue under those circumstances.

You are supposed to get people competent medical care when they are sick. Failure to do so because of a violation of the standard of care of a reasonable man is wrong.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:00 AM on August 28, 2006

Two things caught my attention: the damages the patient is seeking seemed almost quaintly small, and the doctor in the article seeming to shrug it off, saying in effect "Hey, you got free maggot therapy. What's the problem?"
posted by owhydididoit at 10:04 AM on August 28, 2006

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