"keep the leeches hungry so that they're always ready to go to work."

Ironworker's Fingers Replaced With Toes: Leeches Used In Surgery

"I was involved in an accident that pulled four fingers off my right hand," said Thornton. Amazingly, doctors were able to transplant two of Thornton's toes -- one from each foot -- onto his hand. As for his index finger, Thornton has a leech to thank.

"She went out, got the leech," said Thornton. "She put it on my finger, left it there for about 40 minutes, and the finger bled from the tip for two days after that."

Microsurgeon Greg Buncke said that the leeches are, in their own way, exceptional. "They're not the typical leeches you get out of a lake," said Buncke. "They are bred specifically for medical use. You use the leech to actually help drain the blood out of the finger," said Buncke. "Actually the leech has in its saliva some anticoagulant called herudin that helps with the blood flow in the finger."

Buncke said that he keep the leeches hungry so that they're always ready to go to work.

More pictures you may not want to look at here...
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4 Responses:

  1. _uriel_ says:

    I used to do medical inventory (tie and all...) before O worked at your club,Sir. Actual conversation between myself and a med tech.

    (Counting leeches, there were 67, btw...)

    Ron:'these are cool, what are they for?'
    Tech:' We use them in surgery.Their venom has an anticoalulent that keeps blood flow going (not clotting and possibly causing problems).
    Ron:'Ah,what do they eat?'
    Tech:' ... '
    Ron:' ...'
    Tech':'They're leeches...'
    Ron:'Yes, but what do they eat?'
    Tech:'We use them and then we throw them in the trash after they have done their job.'
    Ron:' ...'
    Ron:That doesn't sound like a very nice way to treat your staff.'
    Tech:''They're leeches.'
    Ron:'Still...you'd think they'd get a thank you or something.'

  2. jkonrath says:

    I wondered why they didn't just use some kind of machine to do this. Turns out they will - they are working on a ROBOTIC LEECH:


    Other useless info: they can synthesize herudin now. It's called Angiomax, and they are trying to market it as the new Heparin for people undergoing angioplasty.

  3. mdosen says:

    With the upcoming labor issues in the NHL, it's good to see San Jose Shark Scott Thornton is finding work wherever he can. I wonder if he can find hockey gloves to fit over his new fingers.

    It also appears that he kept his playoff beard.

  4. fzou says:

    "They are bred specifically for medical use. [...]"

    Who the fuck lives their life, breeding leeches? Are they artificially inseminated, or coaxed, or what?

    I hope they have a National Reserve of medicinal leeches, should any large emergency arise. Huge glass walled vats filled with pulsating, starving, slippery leeches.

    (ObZombie Leeeeech. The new black, really.)