Tuesday, July 06, 2004

First off: Kerry Announces Edwards As Running Mate
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Tuesday selected former rival John Edwards to be his running mate, calling the rich former trial lawyer and rookie senator a man who showed "guts and determination and political skill" in his unsuccessful race against Kerry for the party's nomination.

Secondly: Leech Therapy After Surgery
Sucking your thumb might be the best way to save it -- at least when the sucking is done by leeches. The three-jawed freshwater parasites, approved last week as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), can be indispensable tools when reattaching a thumb, a nose, a finger or toe, says University of Missouri Health Care plastic surgeon Matthew Concannon. When blood won't flow out of a newly reattached part -- a rare complication, says Concannon -- a leech's sucking can help get the blood moving while an anticoagulant in the worm's saliva facilitates the process.

When I was a resident a patient thought it would be a good idea to teach his Rottweiler to grab a dog biscuit out of his mouth. Needless to say he suffered a large amount of midface soft tissue loss. This guy was intubated and paralyzed in the ICU for three weeks while leeches were placed along his upper lip to help sustain the free flap. Great theatre as the leeches were placed and the removed. The engorged leeches were then placed in alcohol which caused them to expel the blood. The leeches were then incinerated. The guy did well after it was all said and done.
The use of "recombinant leech spit" has been a mainstay of heparin induced thrombocytopenia for several years.
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