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article imageVideo: 92-yr-old at nursing home had 57 maggots removed from ear

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 4, 2012 in Health
Doctors removed 57 maggots from the ear canal of Catherine McCann, 92, with Alzheimer's disease. McCann's family is suing the Lutheran Home for the Aged in Arlington Heights where her husband John McCann, 88, pays $10,000 a month for nursing home care.
CBS Chicago reports that her husband John, said, “I was horrified, shocked. I thought it was terrible. I’m paying all this money for that kind of care — no way.”
John McCann is suing the nursing home for emotional distress and negligence.
According to attorney Henry Gruss, who filed the lawsuit, “In this case, they allowed Catherine McCann to have a fly get into her ear canal, lay eggs and hatch 57 maggots."
According to CBS Chicago, doctors at the Northwest Community Hospital removed the maggots from McCann's ear. The doctors made a video to document the infestation.
Mary McCann Stassen said she could barely look at the video. She said: “It’s a picture I will never, ever get out of my mind –ever." She said it was traumatic hearing her mother scream while the doctors took the maggots out of her ears.
The family doctor sent some of the maggots for expert analysis. Experts said the maggots had been in McCann's ear for two-and-a-half to three days. According to her husband, McCann cannot speak and the only sign that something was wrong was that she kept pulling at her ear.
McCann has an enlarged ear canal after a surgery performed on her several years ago. The condition has required periodic flushing of her ear with antibiotics to treat infection. McCann had also been treated for buildup of wax in her ear nine days before the maggots were found. The doctor had prescribed ear drops four times a day. The nursing home said she was receiving her drops and that the last dose was at 6 p.m., the evening before the maggots were detected.
According to CBS Chicago, attorney Gruss, said: “I’m questioning whether or not she received the medication in that left ear during this time. Because how can you put drops of medicine in an ear that has 57 maggots?”
Catherine’s husband, John, said angrily, “After giving them $270,000 of my hard earned money — my life savings I gave to them — and not even so much as a note or a call."
However, the nursing home administrator, Phillip Hemmer, said: “We are just as concerned as the family," but added that he did not believe the staff did any wrong. He said a member of staff at the home saw McCann scratching her ear and called a nurse who called the home's medical director after she saw the maggots.
Nursing home officials argued that the maggots would have been detected earlier had they grown big enough to be seen. The management insisted that the home has an excellent reputation and that the incident was an “extraordinarily unusual event."
After the discovery, an exterminator inspected the home for flies but found none. Officials, therefore, speculated that the fly must have entered her ear when she was taken out for a walk.
The management of the home also pointed out that the Illinois Department of Public Health has found no violations in the case.
Medscape reports that an insect in the ear canal may cause hearing loss, discomfort, nausea and vomiting, with complications including injuries to the canal or eardrum.
CBS News notes that the American Association of Family Physicians recommends alcohol or mineral oil to kill insects prior to removal from the ear canal. Mineral oil with olive oil and baby oil are also recommended to suffocate and float out insect in the ear canal. But oil is not recommend for objects that are not insects.
Meanwhile McCann’s family has transferred her to another nursing home.
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