July 27, 2008

What Not to Do-Snakebites

Here at The Shack we appreciate stories about all kinds of animals. So when we find interesting news we like to share it. This afternoon we stumbled onto what not to do about snakebites.

Here is an excerpt that is worth a look.
"After 23 years as an emergency room physician, Dr. Mark Rabold still takes his business seriously but can’t help but wonder in amusement about some of the situations he’s encountered involving rattlesnake bites.

One of his favorite stories involves an anesthesiologist who had just recently moved to Montana. The guy ran over a rattler with his dirt bike, but the tire spun up the snake, which hit the biker in the stomach and bit him.

Then there’s the one — Rabold’s had so many patients he can’t remember if he treated this guy or just read about it —where a man was struck by a rattlesnake, and the guy’s buddy tried a home remedy to treat the wound.

“His buddy got the jumper cables and hooked him up to a giant battery for his semi, then fired up the engine. He probably had to put down his beer first to put the clamps on each side of the snake bite,” Rabold said, laughing. “The guy is screaming, yelling and seizing from this treatment; they thought it would somehow break the venom down.

“Someone actually did a study, and found that electric therapy doesn’t work. It’s just an interesting layman’s myth. This guy ended up with third-degree electrical burns.”

The reality of rattlesnakes is that they do cause a painful bite and their venom can kill a person, although that’s rare. But for every true aspect of rattlers, there are also plenty of tall tales."
From a slightly different angle The Week has a review of a book called The Snake Charmer. It shares the tale of Joe Slowinski’s encounter with a venomous krait. According to the review a bite from this particular snake causes your nervous system to shut down and death within four hours.
“For all its high drama,” said Eric Ormsby in The New York Sun, The Snake Charmer is at heart “a book about strangeness.” The snakes that Slowinski and his colleagues pursue are rare specimens, yet the scientists themselves are James’ most exotic subjects of all. “They have their own lingo, their own customs, their private codes,” as well as astonishing tenacity. When Slowinski stops breathing, his peers keep him alive for 24 hours with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as they wait in vain for a helicopter rescue. Slowinski, meanwhile, calmly details the nature of his symptoms to his anguished friends. By dedicating his final hours to his chosen field, said People, he earned the “remarkable tribute” James has written."
And that leads to an off color joke that you may have heard.
Two friends go on a camping trip together. A short time after dark one of them has to urinate. So he goes over to the bush pulls down his pants and then he screams. He runs over to his friend and says, "Man I've been bitten by a snake on my penis call for help."

So his friend runs off to the car to call poison control to ask what to do to help his friend.

The doctor offers the following instructions, "You take a knife and make an x on the spot where he was bit, then you suck out the venom."

The friend thanks the doctor and runs back to his friend who looks up and asks, "What did the doctor say?"

His friend looks down and says " I am very sorry, the doctor says you're gonna die!"

2 comments:

Soccer Dad said...

I believe this is relevant.

Jack said...

Ah, I think you are correct.