CASA GRANDE, AZ - The doctors and nurses inside Casa Grande Regional Medical Center are treating their patients in a stomach-churning way -- with live maggots.
"We're trying to get back into this realm of offering the patients everything we have in our arsenal of wound care. Maggot therapy just happens to be one of them," certified wound ostomy continence nurse Mary K. Hughes said.
Medical maggots, to be more specific, are being used on Anne Fishbein's deep leg wound. She suffered the injury after her cat tripped her in her bedroom. Months of antibiotics and visits to the doctor were not working on curing her leg.
Doctors say Larvae Therapy is a fast and safe alternative to surgical and chemical treatments.
It might seem like a very crude medical procedure, but maggots have actually been used in the medical field for thousands of years for one reason -- they're very good at what they do.
"Maggots' main purpose is to eat the dead tissue," Hughes said.
For the next 48 hours, the eating done by the disinfected larvae will clean Fishbein''s wound.
So, what does that feel like?
"Actually it's pleasant. The area is so itchy, and the [maggots] are moving around," Fishbein said.
The team at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center told ABC15 if not for the "gross factor", more patients and families would opt for Larvae Therapy.
Doctors told us most insurance companies cover the unique therapy. Where surgery and other procedures can cost thousands of dollars, medical maggot treatment is much cheaper, only around $100.
With a little more education, Casa Grande's Wound Center nurses and doctors hope maggots will crawl their way onto more operating tables in the future.