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Patient benefits from 'sweet solution'

Alan Bayliss and Moses Murandu

A patient at Moseley Hall Hospital is reaping the benefits of a treatment that is being hailed as 'revolutionary' for its use of sugar to heal wounds.

Alan Bayliss, an inpatient in the hospital's amputee rehabilitation ward, is taking part in pioneering research into the effectiveness of sugar to treat wounds such as bed sores, leg ulcers and even those resulting from amputations.

The trial is led by Moses Murandu, a senior lecturer in adult nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, who remembers from childhood his father using ordinary granulated sugar to heal wounds and reduce pain.

But when Moses moved to the UK, he realised that sugar was not used for this purpose here and is now carrying out a research trial into its potential.

Alan underwent an above-the-knee amputation on his right leg due to an ulcer in January 2013, and, as part of the surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, a vein was removed from his left leg.

Alan was moved to Moseley Hall Hospital for rehabilitation post-surgery, where standard dressings were used but the left leg cavity wound was not healing effectively. Nurses contacted Moses and Alan began receiving the sugar treatment.

Within two weeks, the wound had drastically reduced in size and is healing well.

Mr Bayliss, a 62-year-old electrical engineer from Northfield, says: “It has been revolutionary. The actual wound was very deep – it was almost as deep as the length of my finger.

“When Moses first did the dressing he almost used the whole pot of sugar, but two weeks later he only needed to use 4 or 5 teaspoons.

“I am very pleased indeed. I feel that it has speeded up my recovery a lot, and it has been a positive step forward. I was a little sceptical at first but once I saw the sugar in operation and how much it was drawing the wound out, I was impressed.”

Staff Nurse Jonathan Janneman said: “One of the main benefits has been the morale of the patient.

"He could see the cavity in his leg as well as having been unwell through operations.

"But the sugar has given something to hold on to. It is amazing that something as simple as sugar has given him a morale boost - the psychological benefit is up there with the physical benefits. The patient is ecstatic with the results.”

Moses Murandu is halfway through a randomised control trial at three West Midlands hospitals – Moseley Hall, the QE Hospital and Manor Hospital in Walsall - into the effects of the sugar treatment.

So far, 35 patients have successfully received the treatment, with no adverse effects reported.

The treatment works because bacteria need water to grow, so applying sugar to a wound draws the water away and starves the bacteria of water. This prevents the bacteria from multiplying and they die.

Moses said: “It is very pleasing for me to see the results, especially now that the nurses are able to take over and administer the treatment after I have made the initial assessment, and also that the patients are experiencing the benefits.

“I believe in the sugar and the nurses and doctors who see the effects are beginning to believe in it too. I’d like to thank the University and the School of Health and Wellbeing for their support and also the patients for taking part.”