Leeches in Medicine - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/22/04

Leeches in Medicine

You might see them eat leeches on Fear Factor, but scientists are finding a much better use for those creepy critters.

Scott Thornton was in an accident that pulled four fingers off his hand. He was rushed to the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where a team of surgeons were able to reattach two fingers and moved two toes to replace the other two fingers. Another problem came during Scott's recovery when the blood stopped circulating in the reattached index fingers, but instead of using high tech tools to save the finger, nurses called in this slimy specialist, a leech.

"She went out got the leech, she put it on my finger, left it there for about 40 minutes and the finger bled from the tip for two days after that," says Thornton.

"You use the leech to actually help drain the blood out of the finger. Actually the leech has in its saliva some anti-coagulant called Herudin that helps with the blood flow in the finger," says microsurgeon Dr. Greg Bruncke.

At this clinic in San Francisco, these hungry blood suckers have helped hundreds of patients. They typically feast for about 15-30 minutes. Please do not try this at home. These are not the typical leeches you get out of a lake. They are specifically bred for medical use. Doctors always keep these leeches hungry so they are always ready to work when they're needed.

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • The Latest: Official: 18 soldiers killed in west Afghanistan

    The Latest: Official: 18 soldiers killed in west Afghanistan

    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:15 AM EST2018-02-24 06:15:26 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:27 AM EST2018-02-24 16:27:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini). Security forces inspect the site of a suicide bombing in the diplomatic area of capital Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.  Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said several people were wounded in Saturday's a...(AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini). Security forces inspect the site of a suicide bombing in the diplomatic area of capital Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said several people were wounded in Saturday's a...

    Afghan official says at least three security personnel have been killed in separate suicide bombing attacks in southern Helmand province.

    Afghan official says at least three security personnel have been killed in separate suicide bombing attacks in southern Helmand province.

  • Indictment of Missouri governor could have political ripples

    Indictment of Missouri governor could have political ripples

    Saturday, February 24 2018 9:15 AM EST2018-02-24 14:15:50 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:27 AM EST2018-02-24 16:27:14 GMT
    It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Source: AP Photos)It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Source: AP Photos)

    The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges could have political implications beyond his office.

    The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges could have political implications beyond his office.

  • GOP tax law leads to a tax hike, more revenue in some states

    GOP tax law leads to a tax hike, more revenue in some states

    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:15 AM EST2018-02-24 15:15:40 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:26 AM EST2018-02-24 16:26:32 GMT
    (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File). FILE- In this Feb. 19, 2018, file photo, Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan, R-Lafayette, left, speaks with Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, on the opening day of the special legislative session in Baton Rouge, La. A tax overhaul is g...(AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File). FILE- In this Feb. 19, 2018, file photo, Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan, R-Lafayette, left, speaks with Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, on the opening day of the special legislative session in Baton Rouge, La. A tax overhaul is g...
    The Republican tax overhaul is bringing most Americans lower income taxes but also is causing some state income taxes to rise, leading to extra revenue for state budgets.
    The Republican tax overhaul is bringing most Americans lower income taxes but also is causing some state income taxes to rise, leading to extra revenue for state budgets.
Powered by Frankly