Maggots make a mark in medicine
A MEDIEVAL treatment some might find repulsive is making a comeback in medicine.
Maggots have been used to heal wounds on more than 1400 Australians as a last-ditch attempt to save limbs from amputation.
And their ability to feast on dead flesh while leaving healthy tissue alone could also help combat the antibiotic resistance crisis.
NSW Health Pathology senior scientist Merilyn Geary, right, the Australian pioneer behind maggot therapy, said the stomach-churning treatment had an 85 per cent success rate.
“It’s pretty horrible but it works,” she said. “We have a lot of wound consultants and doctors that have used this therapy and, with the right patients and the right wound, they can achieve amazing results.
“You won’t convince everybody though. There are doctors who think of it as medieval, a sort of witchcraft and they refust to have any of it in their rooms.”
Dr Geary is the only supplier of medical maggots in Australia with one application (about 100 maggots) costing $150 — compared with $25,000 for an amputation. Nationally, about 70 amputations done weekly. Dr Geary originally bred the maggots from blowflies in her backyard.