Maggot treatment is at hit at Blackpool Vic

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For many, the idea of having hundreds of maggots chewing away at their flesh would have them running screaming.

But for Geoff Collinge it’s a routine infection treatment that, if anything, has him curious.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is having great success using maggots to clean infected wounds, thereby eliminating the need for drugs intervention.'Geoffrey Collinge, a diabetes sufferer who has lost his big toe on one foot, preparing to undergo a maggot treatment WARNING- Graphic images. Staff Nurse Holly Chapman cleans his infected foot.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'26-2-2014

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is having great success using maggots to clean infected wounds, thereby eliminating the need for drugs intervention.'Geoffrey Collinge, a diabetes sufferer who has lost his big toe on one foot, preparing to undergo a maggot treatment WARNING- Graphic images. Staff Nurse Holly Chapman cleans his infected foot. PIC BY ROB LOCK'26-2-2014

The historic wound treatment is still popular today, and is carried out once a week at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The creepy crawlies, specially bred on a farm in Bridgend, Wales, eat away at the infected skin, promoting the growth of healthy skin.

Blackpool is one of the top 10 sites in the UK for this therapy.

For Geoff, of Thornton, the larval debridement therapy, as it’s known, is the difference between an improving infection and amputation.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is having great success using maggots to clean infected wounds, thereby eliminating the need for drugs intervention.'Geoffrey Collinge, a diabetes sufferer who has lost his big toe on one foot, preparing to undergo a maggot treatment WARNING- Graphic images. Staff Nurse Holly Chapman applies a barrier of Sudocrem to stop the maggots wandering off.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'26-2-2014

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is having great success using maggots to clean infected wounds, thereby eliminating the need for drugs intervention.'Geoffrey Collinge, a diabetes sufferer who has lost his big toe on one foot, preparing to undergo a maggot treatment WARNING- Graphic images. Staff Nurse Holly Chapman applies a barrier of Sudocrem to stop the maggots wandering off. PIC BY ROB LOCK'26-2-2014

He said: “I’ve had this treatment four or five times now since September. Without it I could have lost my leg.

“To me, it’s astonishing how well they feed off the infection, and how quickly they do it. It’s surprising how much they grow.”

Geoff, 66, fell while on holiday in Greece 10 years ago, damaging the nerves in his left foot.

For a decade, he’s not had any feeling in his big toe and down his foot, so he didn’t feel the infection when it started last August.

“My wife noticed there was some staining and liquid on the bedsheets,” he said.

“I went to the walk-in centre at Fleetwood, and was admitted to hospital the following day.”

Geoff stayed at The Vic for a week, during which time his toe had to be amputated because the infection had got into the bone, and he had his first maggot treatment.

“It didn’t bother me at all, I was more intrigued and fascinated,” he added.

“My wife doesn’t want to know, and my friends don’t believe me at first when I tell them.

“You can’t feel them moving. If anything, I’m just aware of them in case I crush them.”

Geoff had his most recent batch of around 200 maggots placed on his wound on Wednesday.

They are contained in a bag, similar to a tea bag, to prevent escapees, and will be removed on Saturday.

Vascular nurse Natalie Owen, who oversees the treatment at The Vic, said: “This therapy definitely works. Geoff would have gone under the knife a lot more times without it.

“The maggots really do a good job of cleaning everything up.”