Thinking of the state of medicine 100 years ago can bring on a shudder and a silent offering of thanks that we were born now and not then. But hold off on the gratitude: some of the grossest and most upsetting treatments are back.
Maggots eat flesh. Human flesh. If you wind up in the hospital with the wrong kind of injury or disorder, you might find them eating your flesh. How is that for a picture: looking down at, say, your thigh and seeing a bunch of translucent larvae eating you? Gross.
Andrew Sullivan, who calls them “Eaters of the Dead,” explains why doctors use them: to clean wounds and prevent infection. They eat the dead flesh from a wound and may secrete a substance that suppresses the immune system so that it doesn’t attack them, while it also prevents infection or swelling.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
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