Snakebit Tim

Being a lawyer is bad enough. Being a snakebit lawyer on the mends is tragic, or funny, or more, or less an interesting story of what its like to be the victim of a rattle snake bite

Monday, September 11, 2006

Early Treatment for a Snake Bite

YOW- BIT BY A RATTLER - YOW

When we arrived at the pro shop I got out of the golf cart and quickly realized I couldn't walk on my left foot at all. I hopped into the shop and plopped myself down on a comfy couch while two EMTs from the nearby Hyatt Tamaya were summoned. Everyone seemed clueless about what to do for a snakebite victim unless gawking counts. The EMTs agreed that icing the wound was right and told me to elevate the leg above my heart. I later learned that both suggestions are wrong. (Check out this rattlesnake cite.)

One doctor later explained the don't ice a snake bite because ice increases the chances for tissue damage. Tte wound can be elevated but should be placed below heart level to inhibit the flow of venom. The EMTs did a good job checking my vital signs and freaking me out by commenting about how high my blood pressure was. They also insisted on waiting for an ambulance because "this is serious" and they didn't want to get their employer in trouble. I joked about them putting their concern for their employer's butt ahead of their concern for me but it went right over their heads. In any event, my suggestion that I should just jump in Ron's car and get to the hospital was roundly rejected by everybody, and rightly so, because waiting for an ambulance turned out to be the right thing to do. (Whenever you're pretty close to an ambulance, wait fot it. If you're out in the boonies and get bit, its better to get to care on your own if you can.)

In my case, the fire department ambulance arrived in about ten minutes and unlike me, the EMTS, and the rest of the Twin Warrior staff, the fire department paramedics knew what to do: stabilize the wounded leg, have me hold still and take deep breaths, and offer me morphine. I did the first two but resisted the dope because the pain was not that bad, just insistent, and I had some bad trips with morphine the last time I was hospitalized. By ambulance we went to Presbyterian's emergency health care center in nearby Rio Rancho. Within an hour from the bite, I was hooked up to an IV with anti-venin, had some good pain pills in my belly, and for the first time thought maybe I wouldn't die after all.

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