Victorian leeches to the rescue!

I have to admit half the fun in the article are a couple of easy-for-Americans misreads that (erroneously) place the action in the late 19th century. But it’s also pleasing to see the old debunked medical “superstitions” rebunked now and again.

a 3quarksdaily post by Abbas Raza, 26 July 2008

Kate Benson in the Sydney Morning Herald:

When Mehdi Jaffari was told his left carotid artery was so severely blocked he faced the risk of an imminent stroke, he turned the clock back to medieval times.

The 52-year-old counsellor, from Chatswood, bought more than 35 leeches from a Victorian farmer and applied them to his body daily. Within five days, a CT angiogram showed the artery had cleared, stunning staff at Royal North Shore Hospital and his family.

Leech therapy, first documented in Greece more than 4000 years ago, is not new in Sydney. More than 50 Richardsonianus australis leeches are kept in a tank at Liverpool Hospital for use on patients who have had skin grafts or severed digits because their saliva contains hirudin, a chemical that acts as a powerful anticoagulant and vasodilator.

More here.  [Thanks to Susan Anthony.]

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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