Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Don't Be Such A Wuss, They're Just Devices

In honor of the first day of school, I bring you the news that the FDA is reviewing the medical use of maggots and leeches, which has been on the rise in recent years.

Aside from the massive gross-out chic factor, the kick of this is that up to now the FDA in its wisdom has regulated both as 'unclassified devices':
The agency decided that maggots and leeches are devices, mainly because of how they perform their medical chores. Maggots chew dead flesh and leeches eat blood. "Those are mechanical processes," Mark Melkerson, acting director of the FDA's Division of General, Restorative and Neurological Devices, told reporters.

Currently, both leeches and maggots are regulated as unclassified devices. The agency is proposing that both maggots and leeches be classified as class II medical devices, subject to some safety requirements, but not as stringently regulated as class III devices, such as implantable pacemakers.
The nifty thing about maggots, as you may know, is that they only eat rotting flesh, and they produce their own natural antibiotic that helps sterilize the area, which means they're vastly more effective than surgery at salvaging a necrotic wound with minimal tissue loss.

No, all that evolutionary engineering and mind-bogglingly precise usefulness doesn't make them any less viscerally utterly fucking disgusting. Yeah, the thought of someone dumping a bunch of 'sterilized' maggots in my wound and sewing them up in there makes me want to tear my skin off. Right now, preemptively.

But gotta say, still pretty fucking cool. Especially when it happens to other people.

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