Taipan bites han­dler

Prompt first aid treat­ment gave woman the best chance of sur­vival

Isis Town and Country - - News - By EMMA REID

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.”

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

YIKES: A staff mem­ber was bit­ten by a coastal taipan at Snakes Dow­nun­der on Sun­day.

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