A man in DeKalb is fully aware of how beneficial leeches can be after they were used in a therapy treatment to save his hand from amputation.
Leeches have one specific and potentially life saving advantage. The chemicals from the segmented worms can save human lives.
A man in DeKalb is fully aware of that now. Last year, Sam Leon was at work when his hand became stuck in a roller press.
The accident resulted in torn veins, arteries and nerves. In most cases, that type of extensive injury would either cause death or require doctors to amputate the extremity.
Thankfully for Leon, he is alive and still has his hand today because leeches were used to heal it. Directly following the incident, Leon consulted with his doctors about potential options and they decided leech therapy would be the best bet.
Due to the severity of his injury, Leon required a total of over 1,400 leeches. In the recovery phase, he applied six leaches to his hand every two hours.
Rockford Orthopedic Dr. Brian Bear who helped treat Leon stated “Leeches are able to secrete a substance that is a very powerful blood thinner and it allows your wound to continue to drain until your own veins have reformed and you don't need them anymore.”
Although Leon’s hand will never again be in 100 percent working order, doctors have hope he'll regain 80 to 85 percent of its functionally back.