Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Australian nurse survives snake bite using his training


An Australian nurse has spoken about how he survived a bite from one of the world’s deadliest snakes by using medical training to instruct his rescuers as he passed in and out of consciousness.

Christian Wright, 33, was last month bitten in his foot by a brown snake at the bottom of a gorge in a remote part of Karijini National Park, about 1,400km north of Perth in Western Australia.

“I looked at my foot, there was no puncture marks. No blood, no swelling, no nothing,” Wright told commercial broadcaster Channel Seven on Saturday. “I started losing my vision. I knew I was going to pass out.”

Wright, a hospital midwife, shouted to his friend Alex Chia, who caught him as he passed out.

“His eyes were rolling back in his head, he was shaking and sweating, and then he went totally limp and heavy,” Chia told the West Australian newspaper. “We were down a deep gorge, 30m tall, there was no one in sight. The hardest part was being in front of his lifeless body.”

A nearby Austrian couple heard their cries for help and called emergency services with their satellite phone as they tended to Wright’s leg using his own instructions.

A ranger was the first to arrive at the scene, followed by paramedics and other rescuers.

However, Wright’s ordeal was not over yet, with the ranger having to enlist the help of 20 nearby tourists to carry Wright out of the harsh terrain on a stretcher while keeping his head above his legs.

It took more than one hour to carry him to an ambulance, before he was driven to a hospital about 75km away and given anti-venom to counter the poison.

Deaths from bites are rare despite Australia being home to 20 of the world’s 25 most venomous snakes.

According to official estimates, there are about 3,000 snakebite cases in Australia every year, with 300 to 500 needing anti-venom treatment. An average of two each year prove fatal.

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