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Hippie with a Mac-11
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today on a long trip where me and my wife and kids ended up getting lost and eventually broken down in WA indian country looking for the ice caves (a story for another post) we ended up at the Columbia River and a Yakama indian guy came up and started talking about where he fishes on the river and whatnot.
He had a bandana wrapped around his shin, and my son asked him if he had an owee, then asked to see it. They guy said he'd fallen down and got a deep cut.
He took the bandana off, and I was kinda shocked to see some maggots just fall out of a maybe four inche long, one inch wide and just as deep wound. My first thought was to offer to clean it with whatever I had in my car (note to self: get a better medical kit for the car) but he just said "oh those guys don't bother me, we let them clean up the icky stuff."
I'd heard about "maggot therapy" and how its been used just about everywhere until modern profit-based medicine came about, in fact a buddy was telling me about it just a few days ago but never thought i'd see it. I kinda wondered for a minute if he was nuts, walking from where he was walking from in the heat, and still had about ten miles to go to a big smoked salmon shindig, but he seemed competent and rational, just tough I guess.
I should add, that would was the cleanest looking cut of that depth I've ever seen. Disgusting to look at, but otherwise looked like it was doing just fine.
From what I've looked up since, it seems maggots used in wounds will decrease the infection risk, and that's not some hippie "traditional" mumbojumbo, even webmd says that under studies that's been the case.
 

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Hippie with a Mac-11
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, that was what tripped me up when I was researching it later on. The maggots that doctors use now are sterile ones bred in a certain environment and all that.
I haven't researched this aspect yet, but the maggots eat the dead and infected flesh, so if the flied get in initially, they could prevent further problems. I didn't ask how the maggots got there, but given the circumstances, I assumed it was "all natural."
However, all natural is how its been done by pretty much all of our ancestors since forever. The Celts, Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Motolones, and Klickitat indians (we broke down right outside of the town/village of Klickitat in Klickitat County) didn't have sterile laboratory conditions either.

I'd still be hesitant to use it, but after seeing such a grotesque wound that seemed so alright, it merits more research on my part.
The guy was so calm about it just explaining that "that's what we do" and putting the bandana back on that my guess would be considering his age and scars, he'd seen it done many a time and wasn't concerned about it. (We got into a conversation about scars and tattoos after my son showed him a rub on tattoo and he talked about how his tradition was you can't desicrate the body god gave you and the only marks you can bear are those that god gives you in life, and that your scars carry more meaning and story than tattoos. I don't know if it was indian or christian tradition he was talking about, he mentioned going to church tomorrow as well as "indiany" stuff.)

I try to teach my kids lessons every day they can use in life. On the way there I was telling my son about where to find potential water sources in high desert, and he even told me where bridges over streams would be a mile before we got to them (he's 5) but ended up getting an indian medicine lesson. then we broke down in high desert for a long time, got to teach him some more about wild plants in the wait time. Weird day today.
 

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Sometimes, in the pursuit of bigger profits, I think we have "forgotten" more about medicine than we are willing to admit.

Maggots and leaches are just two "old school" therapies that doctors are finally rediscovering.

Maggots only consume or clean dead tissue from a wound while leaving healthy tissue untouched while leaches prevent blood clots and help restore proper blood flow to tissues after an injury or surgery...

http://www.riverdeep.net/current/2002/03/030402_bugmedicine.jhtml

and another interesting link...

http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Insect-Physicians---Creepy-Crawly-Medicine-197121.html
 

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Yes I have not only heard of maggots but also leaches to clean wounds in modern medicine. My father was lined up for the maggot therapy some years back on one of his diabetic wounds but in the end he never had it.

As said before the medically used maggots come from a controlled environment, I am not sure if I would have let just any maggots in, although I have heard of soldiers allowing it to happen and having good clean wounds afterwards.
 

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Garbage Collector
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Maggot treatment is still used even in hospitals to this day, it is very effective and will save your life if you have necrotic (dead) tissue that needs to be removed otherwise you will develop gangrene and go septic and die.

It sounds nasty but it is a time proven treatment option. They only eat the dead tissue and drop off when they hit live stuff, then good wound care/cleaning.
 
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I've read that back in the Napoleanic wars some soldiers would carry a stash of maggots with them. Better than waiting for flies and eggs to hatch.
 

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Beyond the grid!
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Where does a maggot 'poo' when in the wound? Must be some amazingly clean dung. But I've heard of this process before too.
 

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I was a student of a wilderness medicine program a few moons ago. It was on the Colorado River of the Grand Canyon N.P. A raft full of MD's were using a rock climbing drill to open up the head of some feller that was suffering from brain swelling due to hitting his head on a rock, after a rafting incident. No maggots involved, but they saved that feller. We got him out on a helicopter after.
 
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