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Docs Used Leeches To Treat Home Explosion Survivor

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(credit: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: CBS) Susie Jones
Susie Jones has been with WCCO Radio since 1996. She started as a...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) – Janice Harms is grateful to everyone who rescued her, and then treated her at North Memorial Medical Center.

Dr. Mark Ahrendt is a trauma surgeon, who first saw 65-year-old Harms when she came into the emergency room.

“When Janice came in, she was awake and talking, and I said this can’t be a woman who was in a house that exploded,” Ahrendt said.

Ahrendt said after they did all their evaluations, they found she had a broken wrist. But perhaps her most severe injury is to her thumb.

“She crushed the first bone in her thumb, and then the tissue got smashed and lacerated to the point where some concern about the viability of the thumb,” he said.

Ahrendt said Harms still had the arterial supply to the thumb but the return of the blood was compromised because of the amount of tissue damage.

“So what we have been doing the last couple of days is using leeches,” he said, pointing to “Larry the Leech,” who was sitting on the table.

The leeches suck the blood out of the thumb until the veins are able to dilate enough to handle the blood flow.

Ahrendt said Harms has been an amazing patient, very tough and cheerful the entire time.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports

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