Monday, January 24, 2011

Lend Me Your Ear!

Had Van Gogh suffered a change of heart, and wanted to reattach his ear, he probably would have needed a few leeches. Medicinal leeches, that is! Besides removing excess blood from the wound, leech saliva contains both an anticoagulant and an anesthetic. The anticoagulant prevents clotting so the ear receives blood flow and survives; the anesthetic numbs the pain so you'll never know what bit you!

In 2004 the FDA approved the use of leeches as a medical device. Today a tribe of the creatures passed through our hospital's pharmacy on their way to save, not an ear this time, but a life.

Of course we were all thankful for our camera phones... ;)