Donny Morrison, 69, was attending a community event on Saturday when he was bitten multiple times by a suspected brown snake in Koumala, roughly 60 kilometres south of Mackay. It’s understood Mr Morrison was bitten repeatedly on the chest and arms when he went into cardiac arrest.
Despite the efforts of paramedics, who performed CPR on the grandfather for a full 30 minutes, he was unable to be saved. The animal in question was thought to have been an eastern brown snake, found all over all Australia, and is one of the most poisonous creatures on the planet.
Authorities initially believed Mr Morrison died as a result a failure to administer anti-venom, but a coroner has now revealed his formal cause of death remains under investigation, though venom has been officially ruled out, the ABC reported. It’s believed Mr Morrison may have had an underlying medical condition he was unaware of at the time of his death.
In a statement, Mr Morrison’s family thanked first responders and members of the Koumala community who tried desperately to save his life.
Some 3000 snake bites in Australia every year
In Australia, the chances of being bitten by a snake are relatively low, with roughly 3,000 snake bites reported every year. Though in this instance it was proven Mr Morrison did not die from snake venom, knowing what to do in an emergency can save lives — with a snake bite kit being vital.
Snake catcher Mathew Hampton explained to Yahoo News Australia the best practice if a person thinks they may have been bitten by a snake.
“The venom travels through the lymphatic system, so a pressure immobilisation bandage compresses the system,” he told Yahoo. “It doesn’t stop the venom altogether, but it just slows it down to the point where it buys you enough time to get to hospital.
“It’s good practice to write the time of bite, time bandages were applied and circle roughly where the bite was. The patient may only end up going with one or two people to hospital. Potentially alone. The more information passed on to paramedics the best chance it gives.
“The pressure immobilisation technique saves 1000s of lives a year.”
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