News24

Granny bitten by spitting cobra

2012-11-22 08:40

Pretoria - A Boksburg grandmother is being treated in hospital after she was bitten by a Mozambican spitting cobra on a farm near Bela-Bela (Warmbaths).

Sannie Haywood, 78, had to undergo an operation on her big toe after the snake bit her, reported Beeld.

Her daughter, Magda Botha, said her mother was visiting them on the farm and they had been sitting in the living room on Sunday afternoon at about 16:00.

“My mom said: ‘What is hurting me now?’ after which Botha saw the snake slithering past the sofa.

“I immediately pulled up my legs. We got a big fright but didn’t realise straight away that my mom had been bitten.”

The snake was killed by Botha’s husband.

As soon as they realised Haywood had been bitten, they dashed off to hospital with her, taking the dead snake with them.

Snake expert André Lourens met them at the hospital and identified the snake as a Mozambican spitting cobra and recommended that she not be given the anti-venom as it could make people very ill.

Lourens said it helped a lot that Haywood had reached the hospital quickly.

While Mozambican spitting cobras are very dangerous, this had fortunately not been a big snake, he said.

Botha said her mother was in a satisfactory condition in hospital.

Comments
  • amanda.p.barratt - 2012-11-22 09:12

    Why kill the snake??

      Johan van Dyk - 2012-11-22 09:20

      Yes Amanda, they should have caught the snake and took it to the hospital with them to show the docter what kind of snake it is...he he.

      troy.leman.3 - 2012-11-22 09:20

      To have an expert identify it in order to administer the correct treatment I assume...

      michelle.fick.3 - 2012-11-22 09:23

      I agree that snakes should not be unnecessarily killed. But, in cases where you are unable to identify the snake, it is best to kill it and take it with to the hospital for a positive identification. The doctors need to know what kind of snake bit the patient. Snakes have different kinds of venom, and each kind needs different treatment. Also, this snake had come inside and bit 1 person. If you are not used to handling snakes, it's very difficult to remove a dangerous snake alive.

      gareth.coats - 2012-11-22 09:24

      In this situation, what would you have done? It was in your house, had bitten your mother, and you are supposed to take the agitated spitting cobra with for identification... I'm a nature lover through and through but in this instance - the snake gets it every time!

      Jaco Joubert - 2012-11-22 09:37

      Amanda - if someone gets bitten by what is suspected to be a poisonous snake, it is advisable to try and take the snake along to the nearest hospital for proper identification purposes for administering anti-venom which is species specific. If the snake is still alive, the chances are very good that more people could get bitten.

      ddeswardt1 - 2012-11-22 11:01

      @ Jaco and Michelle, South African Anti-venom is polyvalent, That is it's a combination of Anti-venom's that include the majority of dangerously venomous snakes in South Africa (The exception being the Boomslang for which a Monovalent anti-venom is available). So regardless of the snake bite the treatment with anti-venom is usually the same. Having said that i would not want to be injected with an anti-venom unless as a very last resort, adverse reactions to anti-venom are common and often more serious than the bite itself. The different types of venom present different symptoms and treating these symptoms is best.So whether you have the snake or not is often a non-issue. I feel that the people mentioned in the article did what was best for their situation, i.e if they could safely dispatch the snake and take it with, then why not. Having the snake with them could set their minds at ease and this is the most important step in snake bite first aid is keeping the patient calm (I don't condone the killing of snakes, but every situation is unique and having a venomous species in ones house is not ideal, the above article being a case in point) . I must stress though that using valuable time and increasing the risk to an additional bite victim by killing the snake first is not a necessary risk, getting to the hospital should be the first priority.

      ddeswardt1 - 2012-11-22 12:09

      Just to add that taking the snake along with you to the hospital seldom helps, firstly, i am sure that doctors are no more equipped to identifying snakes than most people are, i.e they are not snake experts themselves(this is why they produce a general polyvalent anti-venom). Secondly serious snake bites are rare when compared to other conditions or events that could kill you that snake bite treatment makes up a relatively small portion of the studies necisary to become a doctor, having said that a doctor will probably practice for many years before having to treat his first snake bite patient (if he/she ever has to treat a snake bite patient) that all they can really do is treat the symptoms. As mentioned anti-venom is not the miracle treatment that the movies make it out to be, you don't suddenly jump up and do the haka after receiving it. I am pretty sure that almost as many people have been killed by anti-venom than by snake bites themselves.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-22 09:12

    Whilst I'm glad that she is OK I fail to see how this is newsworthy. Guess it's going to be a slow day on the news front.

      Tau Johannes Mphoka - 2013-09-03 13:40

      Whilst i'm glad u commented i fail to see how ur comment is worthy of anithing Guess it is slow in that big head of yours.

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-22 10:09

    Glad Granny OK. Comment on snake size being a small one. The small ones poison is more concentrated and just as dangerous as a fully grown snake.

      ddeswardt1 - 2012-11-22 11:35

      @kenpeg, Firstly i am not aware of a single species of poisonous snake anywhere in the world, some snakes are venomous (poison is ingested whilst venom is injected) you could even safely drink most snake venom's provided there were no open wounds in your mouth ( it is after all only a protein). Secondly small snakes venom is no more potent than their larger counter parts, in fact in some species the opposite is true ( Cotton-Mouth viper). what does make a large venomous snake more dangerous than a smaller one is that it is capable of producing more venom and thus injecting more during a bite.

  • bongohead.sipho - 2012-11-22 13:14

    Hang in there gogo

  • Doep100 - 2012-11-22 13:47

    These bloody Mozambicans! Probably an illegal immigrant. (JOKE) We have lots of them here in my area and last December 24 I got an eyefull of venom while trying to catch one. Luckily knew exactly what to do and immediately rinsed with water. It hurt like hell but no lasting damage. Most people get bitten when trying to catch or handle snakes so it's best to steer clear.

  • thulani.mahlalela.7 - 2012-11-22 19:41

    that should go back to mozambique.

  • Ntsikelelo - 2012-11-23 00:49

    Am greatfull that you doing well gogo but I don't see why your story is worth us hearing about. I mean you know moss that you not the 1st to be bitten by a snake, so now what's special about this case of yours? Don't we have better things to hear about? I do though wish you a speedy recovery.

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