Leech Therapy

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    I'm a ER Nurse and I done seen almost everything that came to the ER from gunshot, lacerations etc. I also respond to trauma alerts when we have one. But I never in my life seen or heard of leech therapy. I was visiting my a friend on the Trauma/Surgery unit on my lunch break when so I entered the room the patient had like 5 leeches sucking on his hand I could of threw up & I never was the type to get the creeps when I seen stuff in the hospital. have any nurses perform or saw Leech Therapy.
  2. 7 Comments so far...

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    I have seen leeches used a number of times over the years, particularly on the burn unit of a large medical center I used to work at. I was on the psychiatric consultation & liaison service, so I wasn't directly involved in handling the leeches, but some of the clients we followed had serious burns, limb reattachments, and other types of injuries or surgeries for which leeches are really helpful.

    To me, it's really interesting that leeches (and maggots) do what they do so much better than anything more sophisticated that modern science has been able to develop. And, of course, the hospital team doesn't just go out back and pick through the drainage canal looking for leeches -- they are "pharmaceutical grade" leeches, specifically bred and raised for medical use.
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    Yes, I had to do leech therapy at two different hospitals when I was a travel nurse. I worked on ortho/trauma floors. I really do not like bugs or, wiggly things, so it was really challenging for me to keep my "nurse" face on, especially when I had to apply the leeches. You really had to keep an eye on them, too, because they would sometimes " migrate" to other body parts that were not being treated.I will never forget the day I opened a container with a " fresh" leech inside and after I managed to pick it out of the water with the tweezers, it was wiggling all over the place. It was so active it actually wiggled right out of the tweezers before I could apply it and disappeared into the hospital's radiator system. I had a student nurse with me and won't forget the look on her face as she whispered to me, " what do we do now?" I was at a loss. I just really hoped that it didn't make it into another patients room.


    I
  5. 0
    Quote from GerberaDaisy
    Yes, I had to do leech therapy at two different hospitals when I was a travel nurse. I worked on ortho/trauma floors. I really do not like bugs or, wiggly things, so it was really challenging for me to keep my "nurse" face on, especially when I had to apply the leeches. You really had to keep an eye on them, too, because they would sometimes " migrate" to other body parts that were not being treated.I will never forget the day I opened a container with a " fresh" leech inside and after I managed to pick it out of the water with the tweezers, it was wiggling all over the place. It was so active it actually wiggled right out of the tweezers before I could apply it and disappeared into the hospital's radiator system. I had a student nurse with me and won't forget the look on her face as she whispered to me, " what do we do now?" I was at a loss. I just really hoped that it didn't make it into another patients room. I
    OMG I wouldn't know what to do in a situation like that
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    Yes, they are pretty active. Once they are placed where they're supposed to be, they will feed until they're full, but, once they're full, they will drop off and start motoring around, leaving a little squiggly blood trail behind them. When I was following someone who was getting leeches, I would sometimes see a blood trail going across the floor where one of them had made it down to the floor and was going exploring, and would call the nurse so we could look for the runaway.
    Kipahni likes this.
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    I have taken care of a patient that was getting leech therapy q 30 min. on the face. He said it tickled. I was trying hard not to turn green.
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    I worked on an Ortho Trauma floor and we used to use leech therapy with flap and reattachment patients. It is actually pretty cool. The leech draws up good blood and helps to revascularize the area. If you are having problems getting the leech to attach, you can poke the area with a needle to get a little blood to get the leech interested. They attach, eat until they are full, and then drop off in about 15-20 minutes.

    The fun part is that myself or the aides would have to find the leech after it dropped off. You just follow the blood trail. One time use, then throw them in rubbing alcohol.
    elkpark likes this.
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    Oh goodness, this was a therapy I just could NOT find the guts to perform. Those leeches are just solo wriggly! Eeeek! But yes, leech therapy is usually ordered for reattachment patients -- think flaps on the face or totally severed ear. They start out teeny weeny and then they suck and suck and triple or quadruple their size and fall off.

    And yes, the fun part is looking for them after they dropped off. I had to always call somebody else to help me with this. I just COULD NOT... COULD NOT... COULD NOT!!! LOL


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