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cant. I was delirious and had to be rushed to the doctor,

time:2023-12-03 02:29:42 source:Track and trace network author:bird read:917次

Snake-bites.--A writer in an Indian paper asserts that the traditional immunity of Indian snake-charmers is due to the fact that having been accidentally bitten by poisonous serpents or insects more than once, and having survived the first attack, they are subsequently immune. His assertion is based on personal acquaintance with Madari Yogis and Fakirs, and an actual experiment made with a Mohammedan Fakir who was immune to the bites of scorpions provided by the writer. The animals were from five to seven inches long and had lobster-like claws. Each bite drew blood, but the Fakir was none the worse.

cant. I was delirious and had to be rushed to the doctor,

The venom of poisonous snakes may be considered the most typical of animal poisons, being unrivaled in the fatality and rapidity of its action. Fortunately in our country there are few snake-bites, but in the tropic countries, particularly India, the mortality from this cause is frightful. Not only are there numerous serpents in that country, but the natives are lightly dressed and unshod, thus being exposed to the bites of the reptiles. It is estimated by capable authorities that the deaths in India each year from snake-bites exceed 20,000. It is stated that there were 2893 human beings killed by tigers, leopards, hyenas, and panthers in India during the year 1894, and in the same year the same species of beasts, aided by snakes, killed 97,371 head of cattle. The number of human lives destroyed by snakes in India in 1894 was 21,538. The number of wild beasts killed in the same year was 13,447, and the number of snakes killed was 102,210.

cant. I was delirious and had to be rushed to the doctor,

Yarrow of Washington, who has been a close student of this subject, has found in this country no less than 27 species of poisonous snakes, belonging to four genera. The first genus is the Crotalus, or rattlesnake proper; the second is the Caudisona, or ground-rattlesnake; the third is the Ancistrodon, or moccasin, one of the species of which is a water-snake; and the fourth is the Elaps, or harlequin snake. There is some dispute over the exact degree of the toxic qualities of the venom of the Heloderma suspectum, or Gila monster. In India the cobra is the most deadly snake. It grows to the length of 5 1/2 feet, and is most active at night. The Ophiophagus, or hooded cobra, is one of the largest of venomous snakes, sometimes attaining a length of 15 feet; it is both powerful, active, and aggressive. The common snakes of the deadly variety in the United States are the rattlesnake, the "copperhead," and the moccasin; and it is from the bites of one of these varieties that the great majority of reported deaths are caused. But in looking over medical literature one is struck with the scarcity of reports of fatal snake-bites. This is most likely attributable to the fact that, except a few army-surgeons, physicians rarely see the cases. The natural abode of the serpents is in the wild and uninhabited regions.

cant. I was delirious and had to be rushed to the doctor,

The venom is delivered to the victim through the medium of a long fang which is connected with a gland in which the poison is stored. The supply may be readily exhausted; for a time the bite would then be harmless. Contrary to the general impression, snake-venom when swallowed is a deadly poison, as proved by the experiments of Fayrer, Mitchell, and Reichert. Death is most likely caused by paralysis of the vital centers through the circulation. In this country the wounds invariably are on the extremities, while in India the cobra sometimes strikes on the shoulder or neck.

If called on to describe accurately the symptoms of snake-venom poisoning, few medical men could respond correctly. In most cases the wound is painful, sometimes exaggerated by the mental condition, which is wrought up to a pitch rarely seen in other equally fatal injuries. It is often difficult to discern the exact point of puncture, so minute is it. There is swelling due to effusion of blood, active inflammation, and increasing pain. If the poison has gained full entrance into the system, in a short time the swelling extends, vesicles soon form, and the disorganization of the tissues is so rapid that gangrene is liable to intervene before the fatal issue. The patient becomes prostrated immediately after the infliction of the wound, and his condition strongly indicates the use of stimulants, even if the medical attendant were unfamiliar with the history of the snake-bite. There may be a slight delirium; the expression becomes anxious, the pulse rapid and feeble, the respiration labored, and the patient complains of a sense of suffocation. Coma follows, and the respirations become slower and slower until death results. If the patient lives long enough, the discoloration of the extremity and the swelling may spread to the neck, chest and back. Loss of speech after snake-bite is discussed in Chapter XVII, under the head of Aphasia.

A peculiar complication is a distressing inflammation of the mouth of individuals that have sucked the wounds containing venom. This custom is still quite common, and is preferred by the laity to the surer and much wiser method of immediate cauterization by fire. There is a curious case reported of a young man who was bitten on the ankle by a viper; he had not sucked the wound, but he presented such an enormous swelling of the tongue as to be almost provocative of a fatal issue. In this case the lingual swelling was a local effect of the general constitutional disturbance.

Cases of Snake-bite.--The following case illustrative of the tenacity of virulence of snake-venom was reported by Mr. Temple, Chief Justice of Honduras, and quoted by a London authority. While working at some wood-cutting a man was struck on a heavy boot by a snake, which he killed with an axe. He imagined that he had been efficiently protected by the boot, and he thought little of the incident. Shortly afterward he began to feel ill, sank into a stupor, and succumbed. His boots were sold after his death, as they were quite well made and a luxury in that country. In a few hours the purchaser of the boots was a corpse, and every one attributed his death to apoplexy or some similar cause. The boots were again sold, and the next unfortunate owner died in an equally short time. It was then thought wise to examine the boots, and in one of them was found, firmly embedded, the fang of the serpent. It was supposed that in pulling on the boots each of the subsequent owners had scratched himself and became fatally inoculated with the venom, which was unsuspected and not combated. The case is so strange as to appear hypothetic, but the authority seems reliable.

The following are three cases of snake-bite reported by surgeons of the United States Army, two followed by recovery, and the other by death: Middleton mentions a private in the Fourth Cavalry, aged twenty-nine, who was bitten by a rattlesnake at Fort Concho, Texas, June 27, 1866. The bite opened the phalangeal joint of the left thumb, causing violent inflammation, and resulted in the destruction of the joint. Three years afterward the joint swelled and became extremely painful, and it was necessary to amputate the thumb. Campbell reports the case of a private of the Thirteenth Infantry who was bitten in the throat by a large rattlesnake. The wound was immediately sucked by a comrade, and the man reported at the Post Hospital, at Camp Cooke, Montana, three hours after the accident. The only noticeable appearance was a slightly wild look about the eyes, although the man did not seem to be the least alarmed. The region of the wound was hard and somewhat painful, probably from having been bruised by the teeth of the man who sucked the wound; it remained so for about three hours. The throat was bound up in rancid olive oil (the only kind at hand) and no internal remedy was administered. There were no other bad consequences, and the patient soon returned to duty.


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