Friday, January 09, 2009

Video: Doctors Use Honey to Save Man's Leg

Doctors at Manhasset Hospital Use Honey to Help Queens Man Avoid Leg Amputation
By Jonathan Starkey, Newsday (USA), 1/8/2009

A Little Neck man may owe his right leg to an unlikely ancient remedy: honey.

Treatment that was until only recently thought by many to be "barbaric," according to one nurse at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, saved Franklin Lloyd from surgery, and potentially from having to amputate a portion of his right leg to thwart infection.

"It was really a godsend," Lloyd, 68, a retired lawyer, said Thursday morning during a media briefing at the hospital.

Dr. Marcia Epstein, an infectious disease specialist at North Shore treating Lloyd, said that without the honey-based dressing, "It was possible that the leg would have been lost, very possible."

Lloyd and his wife, Sally, first noticed his right leg was swollen in mid-December 2007. He was diagnosed with a bacterial infection, cellulitis, in his calf. But doctors later found that Lloyd actually had a fungal infection caused by Cryptococcus yeast, Epstein said. Immune suppressants prescribed after a kidney transplant in the mid-1990s had left Lloyd vulnerable, Epstein said…

Last January, Lloyd's team began applying a dressing made of sterilized, potent honey called manuka taken from Australian and New Zealand beehives.

The honey softened the tissue, allowing for easier removal. Some of the tissue was simply rinsed off with a saline solution. The honey's antibacterial properties also helped fend off infection.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the dressing as a treatment for wounds and burns in summer 2007, and Derma Sciences Inc., a Canadian company with offices in Princeton, N.J., began selling it under the name Medihoney that fall.

That's not to say that healing honey is new. Egyptians used honey more than 4,000 years ago to treat wounds. Although hospital officials said yesterday they don't recommend applying store-bought honey to wounds, Mary Brennan, a wound nurse who helped treat Lloyd, said it was common in the 1970s to use regular honey to treat pressure ulcers…

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