March 21, 2005

REGRESSIVE PROGRESS (via The Other Brother):

Maggots: Coming to a Hospital Near You (Ben Hirschler, 3/21/05, Reuters)

Phyllis Hulme's family and friends were aghast when she told them doctors planned to put maggots on her leg ulcer.

"I got some horrified looks. I think they thought: she's old, she doesn't know any better, she's gone a bit gaga," said the 81-year-old, who suffers from diabetes.

"But it's been marvelous. I used to feel like screaming sometimes, the pain was so bad, and the first night they were on, the pain went."

It may sound gruesome, but it turns out that maggots are remarkably efficient at cleaning up infected wounds by eating dead tissue and killing off bacteria that could block the healing process.

Maggot medicine, in fact, has a long history. Napoleon's battle surgeon wrote of the healing powers of maggots 200 years ago, and they were put to work during the American Civil War and in the trenches in World War One.

With the arrival of modern antibiotics in the 1940s, however, maggots were consigned to the medical dustbin.

Now a new generation of physicians, keen to cut back on antibiotic use, is waking up to the creatures' charms.

Give us some more time and we'll figure out all the stuff our ancestors knew.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2005 1:55 PM

Isn't it funny though how you and the Luddite Homeopaths you you so often despise are so often frequently on the same team? Your whole hatred and distrust of anything related to "SCIENCE!!!" could come from any number of lefty back-to-the-land whole medicine types I know. I guess the two ends of any extremist spectrum do meet after all.

Posted by: Governor Breck at March 21, 2005 2:05 PM

My Grandfather (born 1880) used to dowse for water for various neighbors in Tennessee.

Posted by: h-man at March 21, 2005 2:06 PM


Yes, that's why they all move to such rural areas.

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2005 2:12 PM

An unkind swipe at the Maverick brothers, Bret and bart. OJ doesn't often get mad, but he's pretty good at getting even.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 21, 2005 2:13 PM

IIRC women's urine, and only woman's urine was used to treat ear aches in children. Too bad a man's urine couldn't have been used. After all we come with the applicator.

Posted by: AllenS at March 21, 2005 3:04 PM

When all else failed, doctors used maggots to clean out a severe infection on Joe DiMaggio's leg in the early 1940's.

Posted by: Earl Sutherland at March 21, 2005 3:43 PM

According to my local Sierra Club, maggots cause global warming. I don't know how, but I'm comfortable with that and I'm going with it. Yeech!!

Posted by: Peter B at March 21, 2005 5:58 PM


Just today I was telling a colleague about running my own valet service during the Del Mar race meet as a sixteen-year-old, and how Hollywood types were the worst tippers. I cited Jack Kelly as an example, and he knew my parents.

That said, I'm missing the 'Maverick' reference.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at March 21, 2005 10:11 PM

You cannot dowse in Tennessee and not hit water.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at March 21, 2005 11:16 PM


Yes, which we now know because (dim-witted) researchers such as my grandfather dowsed the whole d*mn state. :)

Posted by: h-man at March 22, 2005 12:00 PM