Maggots Save Neglected Elder’s Life

Auburn, WA – A 70-year-old woman was discovered sitting helplessly in soiled bedding with hundreds of maggots writhing and crawling over her inside of a residence she shares with her daughter, 46-year-old Sherrie Morton.

They’d been cohabitating for about 13 years – the mother and daughter, not the maggots.

Flies swarmed the room where she was found and the 70-year-old complained her legs were burning, according to the Daily Mail.

Emergency response, donned in hazardous material suits, retrieved the elderly woman and escorted her to the Valley Medical Center in King County, where she remains in critical condition. The maggots were removed following the rescue.

Authorities believe the unnamed septuagenarian was neglected and left there to rot by her daughter. Sherrie Morton was arrested and faced a possible felony elder-abuse charge according to SeattlePI.

Shockingly, investigators also believe the maggots may have saved the elder’s life as they fed on the diseased flesh of her open leg wounds – staving off infection and necrosis, keeping her septic wounds from turning gangrenous. According to the paramedics, the woman had been injured for at least a month.

Morton claims the maggots had only recently appeared on her mother’s injured leg, approximately two days before she was found by authorities – implying the wound was also more recent than what medical personnel assessed.

However, a friend of the family reported seeing maggots inside the woman’s wound four days before.


Morton explained to police it took her hours to change her 400-pound mother’s diaper and bedding. Oddly, she used shaving cream, not soap, to clean her bedridden mother. When asked if she noticed a strange odor, Morton admitted she’d smelled rotting flesh recently.

Under duress, Morton dialed 911. Checking on the older woman the day she was rescued, a witness said she noticed hundreds of maggots covering her exposed sores, describing it like a horror movie. The witness convinced Morton to call police.

Detective Priebe-Olsen told the court the mother claimed to have been well looked after by her daughter. Following an examination of the home, the detective noted that large piles of garbage were inside and there was a strong smell of rotting flesh, feces, and ammonia.

Morton has been officially charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment of a dependent person. She remains jailed on $150,000 bail.

[Image via Wikicommons – Fly and beetle larvae on 5-day old corpse, by Paul venter]