Urgent health concern prompts hospital to stock antivenom
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Bright doctor Chris O’Brien said the cost of antivenom and how quickly it goes out of date was the main reason it was not stocked in the past.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“It definitely in most cases goes out of date before its use.”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.