Ur­gent health con­cern prompts hos­pi­tal to stock an­tivenom

Alpine Observer - - News - By TATE SPI­TERI

AN­TIVENOM will now be stocked at hos­pi­tals in Bright, Myrtle­ford and Mt Beauty.

The ad­di­tion comes fol­low­ing a re­view by Alpine Health’s med­i­cal con­sul­ta­tive com­mit­tee on pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing the man­age­ment of pa­tients pre­sent­ing to ur­gent care with snake bites or sus­pected snake bites.

With­out an­tivenom in stock peo­ple who pre­sented with a po­ten­tial snake bite had to be trans­ferred by am­bu­lance to Wan­garatta or Wodonga.

Doc­tors at the three Alpine hos­pi­tals, af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with a clin­i­cal tox­i­col­o­gist, are now able to ad­min­is­ter the an­tivenom prior to trans­fer­ring the snake bite vic­tim to a re­gional base hos­pi­tal.

Bright doc­tor Chris O’Brien said the cost of an­tivenom and how quickly it goes out of date was the main rea­son it was not stocked in the past.

“It is an ex­pen­sive thing to stock and to keep be­cause it is so in­fre­quently used,” he said.

“It def­i­nitely in most cases goes out of date be­fore its use.”

Dr O’Brien said the de­ci­sion to now ad­min­is­ter an­tivenom was not due to more peo­ple be­ing bit­ten.

“There has not been an in­crease in the num­ber of snake bits, peo­ple are bit­ten very in­fre­quently,” he said.

“When it was recog­nised that we didn’t have an­tivenom, they ( Alpine Health) con­ducted the re­view and con­cluded it was bet­ter to have it than not have it.

“For those times where some­one is in­creas­ingly un­well or un­sta­ble it is nice to have it.”

Peo­ple are re­minded that if they see a snake to keep calm and to move them­selves and any­one with them (in­clud­ing pets) away from it.

Vets in the Alpine Shire have been treat­ing an­i­mals for snake bites daily this sea­son.

Peo­ple who come across a snake should not at­tempt to cap­ture it but con­tact DELWP on 136 186 or call a li­censed snake catcher.

Peo­ple are also en­cour­aged to un­der­take first aid train­ing and en­sure their first aid kit con­tains sev­eral com­pres­sion ban­dages.

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