patients have received antivenin, with 25 percent suffering from reactions to the treatment
“It’s not a matter of a delay in the patient getting to hospital — in fact, what we are seeing is a delay that occurs in the hospital.”
The reason for the holdup within hospitals, according to Isbister, is because many victims of snakebites experience delayed onset of symptoms — for example, it can take up to eight hours for a paralysis to develop.
“Another symptom is blood thinning — that means a patient has to go through a clotting test and it could take an hour or even two for the results to get back from the lab,” Isbister said.
However, snakebite victims also have to be concerned about their reaction to the antivenin, as the study found that of the 755 patients who received antivenin, almost 25 percent had hypersensitivity reactions to the treatment.
Despite the concerns, the report did highlight some improvements, as it concluded that smaller doses of antivenin are sufficient to save victims than the amount used in the past.
“Knowing that patients need less antivenin than what was previously administered will decrease the cost and waste for hospitals. A lot of antivenin is thrown out every year,” he said.