At 80 years old, Louis Szikla expected to face health problems — but nothing like what happened to him.
Doctors recently discovered maggots on his foot after Szikla a hospital visit last December.
Left in a bed for days, Szikla, who has poor circulation due to diabetes, developed a heel ulcer.
“The whole thing starts with someone not taking very good care of him at first where he got the heel ulcer,” Sheldon Szikla, Louis’ son, said.
Then in June he broke his ankle.
“I hit my ankle on the side of the elevator,” he said.
Doctors put on a cast, but left an opening so the wound could be dressed by nurses who came to Szikla’s home every couple of days.
The wound was always covered with a bandage.
But when his regular nurse went on vacation, fill-in nurses were sent from the agency contracted by the government-funded Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).
“The nurses were coming every second day,” he said.
Szikla thought everything was fine until he went to hospital for routine dialysis and mentioned his heel felt uncomfortable.
Staff immediately checked the wound.
“I got a phone call that there were maggots falling out of his cast in hospital. When they removed the tensor, maggots fell out,” Sheldon Szikla said.
“I was completely overwhelmed.”
He said an infectious disease doctor was brought in and now his dad is loaded down with antibiotics.
“I informed CCAC and no one got back to me,” added Sheldon Szikla.
CCAC responded to inquiries from Global News with a statement.
“We take all complaints related to the care of our patients very seriously, and fully investigate any issues identified, in partnership with our contracted service providers and the care team,” spokeswoman Cheryl Cheung said in an emailed statement.
“An investigation is already underway regarding the quality of care provided.”
An entomologist explained it is hard to determine how long the maggots may have been growing.
“In some species the eggs will hatch in just a couple of days. In others it’ll take a few more days,” said Steve Marshall, a professor at the school of environmental sciences at the Univeristy of Guelph. “Once we know the species and at what stage it’s at, we can estimate how long its been.”
There is such a thing as “medicinal maggots” introduced intentionally to clean wounds. However, that is very different, since they are sterile and controlled.
The Sziklas said they have been left wondering how this happened, while Louis added they don’t even know if there has been any follow up with the nurses involved.
“I can’t imagine how come the nurse didn’t see it.”