Maggot therapy…

Every once and a while a patient enters your care who presents with an unusual situation. I’ve been a nurse at some capacity for about 16 years (LPN-MN) and there are lots of things I have seen, but still many that I haven’t!

One thing I check off my list is maggots in a wound, and not there on purpose. Maggot therapy has been in medicine for a very long time. It’s intended usage is to utilize the maggots for wound debridement (link below). Of course, the maggots are sterile and a regimen of routinely replacing the maggots is important to maintaining a healthy wound healing environment. However, this particular situation (person, place, & time avoided to protect the identity of the patient) was due to poor hygiene and a reluctance to seek medical treatment.


When an interesting case presents to the emergency department, news travels fast! Basically, when a patient is checking into triage, charge nurses are notified of specific situations to help facilitate an appropriate room/space for the patient, especially if they require some kind of isolation. The downfall to this kind of pre-notification, is the anticipation of the unknown, and as the nurse, now my brain is in full though process of “how do I care for this situation”.

On the day the patient arrived with the infected wound, I was made aware the patient would be coming to my assignment, I had an open isolation room. And before I even met the patient, I could feel myself reacting to the idea of seeing these creatures crawling and I was having a difficult time preparing myself to maintain my professionalism while caring for this patient.


After learning the story of a battle with cancer, failure to seek treatment, and an underlying mental health diagnosis, the compassionate nurse in me found its way out to ensure an empathetic and professional approach to caring for this patient. It was certainly not the patient’s choice to have the wound get to this level of infection, nor did they intend for this path to their ultimate demise. But due to lack of insight to the disease process and inability to process consequences the patient found themselves in this situation and I found myself learning how to flush maggots from a wound.

Although I can whole heartedly say that I do not ever want to complete this task again, done & done! I can say that having had this experience allowed me to get to know this patient on a different level than expected and it helped me understand that although resources are available to people, they might not have the capacity to utilize them. What we gave this person was comfort care; however, our interaction was brief, and it is unknown how they will navigate the system from this moment forward. I can only hope, that the care I gave in that moment was more than just flushing those creatures out of the wound.


Have you experienced and unusual treatment or procedure? I’d love to hear about your experience! Feel free to leave a comment!

fullsizeoutput_1e3c Trudi

(personal information of the patient, place, or time has been kept confidential to protect the patients privacy, no HIPPA/FIPPA laws are intentionally broken)
(some images are obtained from google, no copyright infringement intended)


Electronic medical records (EMR) were a new experience for me. In B.C. our healthcare system is “social” or “universal”, or more accurate it is a single payer system where the government covers the cost of basic healthcare for all Canadian rePicture6sidents. Because the government holds the budget, which is collected from the tax payers, we try to be accountable to how we spend these dollars and therefore “extras” don’t always get priority. One of those “extras” is an electronic medical record system.


EMR’s are initially quite costly with equipment, training, and software taking large sums of money away from direct patient care. Throughout the years, we have implemented small pieces of these types of systems such as e-triage, scanned records, and links to lab work; however, it wasn’t a thing to do ALL the assessment, documentation, and medication administration through these systems.

My first travel assignment in WA state was the first time I had used an EMR. The software, Meditech, was familiar to me as the core programing was similar to what I had used in Canada, although my exposure in BC was limited it allowed me to learn easier and catch on quicker. I did struggle throughout the assignment and probably made several mistakes, but it was fun learning! The one issue (besides the mistakes) that I had with this particular situation was, most of the computers were on wheels. Does a portable computer cause an issue? Not really, but what I noticed was, the computer was “pushed” into the room and it often entered the room ahead of the nurse. The patients saw a machine before a human and many nurses stood behind the computer asking questions and charting. Yes, the nurses did eventually touch and assess the patient but that seemed to be an afterthought, not really what I was taught nursing was about. Sad really…

perfect-computer-classes-rajkot-84t2mThe second travel assignment in Indiana exposed me to yet a different EMR system. This one, Cerner, it was complicated with many different icons, buttons, and areas to look for what you needed. I found this system to not very user friendly. Although I struggled, I used my smart nursing friends (remember, I’ve mentioned these handy IN friends before) to guide me through the many challenges of charting! On a positive note, this department had computers installed in almost every room. It was so much easier to enter the room, assess the patient, and then sit down to the computer and chart. And of course, by now, I was in the groove!

So, you’d think that by now EMR’s are becoming easier…Ha Ha!

Onto Colorado I go only to find out there are so many more systems out there and variations of similar systems. I did eventually settle at one hospital for 18 months and they brought in a system called EPIC and man that was amazing! I can assure you that looking back, one of the things I actually miss from my travel nursing journeys is the EMR and I can’t wait to have another opportunity to use a well set up system.


EMR’s can either compliment or hinder the way we care for people but remember, humans should enter the room first and never hide behind the machine. Patients lose trust in the caregiver and we lose the human connection when we allow the computer to take precedence!

What is your experience with EMR’s? Leave me your story in the comments!


feature image photo: unknown source, no copyright infringement is intended