Taipan bites handler
Prompt first aid treatment gave woman the best chance of survival
WOULD you know the correct first aid to give if bitten by a snake which has the third most toxic venom of all land snakes?
Luckily, the staff at Snakes Down Under did, giving the snake handler the best chance of surviving an attack from a coastal taipan.
Bundaberg ambulance received a call saying a female had been bitten on the hand by a snake at Snakes Down Under.
Queensland Ambulance Service acting senior operations supervisor Steven Bechly said they were advised just after 4pm on Saturday that a person was bitten at the wildlife park and later transferred to Bundaberg Hospital.
“We got the call and dispatched an ambulance with an intensive care paramedic onboard,” Mr Bechly said.
“On arrival we saw that the correct first aid – in the way of a compression bandage – had been applied.
“We don’t carry antivenom on board with us, so it was great to see the right first aid was used.”
Mr Bechly said by using the proper technique with the compression bandage, it slowed down the rate of the toxin spreading through the body.
The snake bite was identified as being from a coastal taipan which has a common habitat of dry areas and favours canefields around the Bundaberg region.
“One of the most important first aid skills to have in our area is snake bite treatment,” Mr Bechly said.
“This is a timely reminder that along with CPR and haemorrhage control, if people could learn snake bite first aid it would be beneficial.”
Snakes Down Under owner Ian Jenkins said the employee who was bitten was a long-term employee and had a good knowledge of snakes and remained calm throughout the ordeal.
“About 30 seconds after the bite the bandage was already being applied by me,” Mr Jenkins said.
“The quicker you get that on, the quicker you stop the venom getting to the lymphatic system.
“We just asked her just to sit down and other staff members assisted her, as a key thing with snake bites is to stop the spread of venom by compression and immobilisation.”
Mr Jenkins said even though the reptile park had knowledge of what snake had bitten the handler, he said hospitals have snake bite identification kits to make sure.
“Even though we knew what type of snake bit her, if we were out in the bush and didn’t, the hospital can identify which snake has bitten through the kit, which is great,” he said.
“We applaud the ambulance officers who attended. They were really professional.”
YIKES: A staff member was bitten by a coastal taipan at Snakes Downunder on Sunday.