This Saturday our favourite medicinal maggot wonders were back in action on Casualty. One of the plots focused around the treatment of pressure sore on the back of a patient. Maggot therapy (MT) is an excellent treatment for pressure wounds, and indeed wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers and burns. At first though, the patient doesn’t want to go through with the therapy as he finds the idea of maggots within his wound off-putting (to put it mildly!). This is not an uncommon reaction for people when first faced with the idea of maggot therapy – we call it the Yuck factor and for the past few years have been researching how people feel about maggot therapy.
In general, when first asked about MT people generally do not want to have it at all, and are worried about what will happen when the maggots are put on the wound and if it will hurt. However once the procedure is explained and how maggots can help clean certain wounds much faster than other treatments, people tend to be more accepting of the treatment and willing to try it. You can see that happening in this episode when Jade explains to Campbell how maggots are like hoovers that suck up the bacteria and dead skin in his wound. Medicinal maggots don’t have teeth, they secrete a digestive juice that breaks down the necrotic part of the wound and then they ‘suck’ the infected dead flesh back in and metabolise it.
Maggots have also been shown to produce antimicrobial factors in their secretions, so can work to kill bacteria that surrounds them in a wound too. In this episode Jade and Dylan are using free range maggots on their patient, but ‘bagged’ maggots are also used on NHS prescription. In the episode you can see the hospital’s maggot rearing lab – some hospitals around the world do raise their own maggots, but hospitals can also order maggots from companies who specialise in the rearing and distribution of clinical grade medicinal maggots.
Excitingly, Yamni was able to chat with Will and Gabriella (who play Dylan and Jade) about working with maggots on set – sit back and press play to reveal all!
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