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S Africa Press: Cobra-bite baby dies in hospital

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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on November 14, 2000 at 19:11:23:

THE INDEPENDENT (Johannesburg, S Africa) 14 November 00 Cobra-bite baby dies in hospital
(Sapa): A month-old baby admitted to the Garden City Clinic in Johannesburg on Monday after she was bitten by a snake died at the clinic on Tuesday morning.
Sister Linda Pretorius said Phetole Molobela's heart stopped beating at around 10.30am.
Pretorius said the cause of the baby's cardiac arrest had not been established, but it was possibly linked to the snake bite.
Phetole was flown to Garden City on Monday after a Mozambican spitting cobra attacked her while she was asleep in her crib.
She was taken to the Mankweng hospital in the Northern Province where anti-venom serum was administered. Phetole's condition suddenly deteriorated on Sunday night and she was brought to Johannesburg on a Trauma Air Response helicopter.
Pretorius said Phetole had been on a life support system. She would have undergone surgery later on Tuesday to relieve pressure on the nerves around the bite wound.
Medinfo's Dr Stephen Toovey said that cobra poison contained a neurotoxin that paralysed the victim's muscles and caused fatal paralysis.
A cobra bite victim needed to be put on a ventilator until the effect of the poison wore off. If a cobra bite victim survived, there could be damage to the nervous system and also some tissue damage, said Toovey.

THE INDEPENDENT (Johannesburg, S Africa) 13 November 00 'Miracle' cobra-bite baby clings to life (Themba wa Sepotokele)
A month-old baby girl is fighting for her life after "miraculously" surviving a bite from a deadly Mozambican spitting cobra.
Tiny Phetole Molobela was being comforted by her dazed mother in the intensive care of Johannesburg's Garden City Clinic after a mercy dash by helicopter to bring her from one of South Africa's most remote areas.
The rural hospital at Mankweng, in the far Northern Province where Phetole lives with her mother, Maria, and two teenaged siblings, was unable to give her the life-saving treatment she needed after being bitten on Sunday afternoon.
Early this morning, as her condition deteriorated alarmingly, doctors in Mankweng sent an SOS that was picked up by the Specialised Trauma Air Response (Star), a private-sector evacuation service.
On Monday morning, a helicopter took off from the Unitas Hospital in Centurion with specialist medical personnel aboard. It landed at Garden City Clinic at 1.45pm and Phetole was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit.
Speaking to The Star on Monday night, Maria Molobela said it was a miracle that her child was still alive. Her face beamed relief as she cradled her sleeping infant.
Describing Sunday afternoon's ordeal, the farm labourer and single parent said she was sleeping with her baby when the child suddenly cried out.
"Phetole cried continuously and I thought something was wrong. I noticed blood dripping from her hand.
"That was when I saw the head of what looked like a frog. I tried to chase it away but it stared at me with its big eyes.
"I then ran out with the child crying louder and called for help. A woman at the farm came with a stick and saw a snake between the pillow cases (and) killed it," said the mother of three daughters.
Molobela said Phetole was taken to Mankweng Hospital near Hoedspruit.
According to Dr Ryan Noach, Star medical director, Phetole needed immediate stabilisation and further surgical and intensive care, which was not available at Mankweng hospital.
Noach said the emergency medical helicopter based in Unitas Hospital in Centurion was used to airlift the child.
"This was made possible by generous and immediate assistance from Investec Bank and Netcare 911. Each contributed one-third of the costs (R19 000) of the emergency flight.
"The Netcare Hospital's group management arranged for Garden City Clinic to sponsor full care of the patient. This includes paediatric surgery, plastic surgery and intensive care for the patient," Noach said.
After the child's arrival at Garden City Clinic, she was cared for by a team of specialists. She was still in a critical condition.

THE INDEPENDENT (Johannesburg, S Africa) 13 November 00 Infant fighting for life after cobra's bite
(Sapa) A one-month-old baby who was bitten by a spitting cobra in the Northern Province on Sunday was in a serious condition at the Garden City Clinic in Johannesburg on Monday night, according to a hospital worker.
Sister Linda Pretorius said: "We are doing the best we can, she has the best doctors and we are trying very hard to save her."
The baby was bitten at 2.30pm on Sunday when the snake slithered into her crib while she slept.
The infant was airlifted by Specialised Trauma Air Response (Star) from Mankweng Hospital on Monday and brought to the Garden City Clinic, where she was admitted to the intensive-care unit.
Pretorius said Mankweng Hospital had given the child anti-venom serum, but she needed more intensive treatment, which she would receive at the clinic.
She said the child's mother had arrived in Johannesburg and was with her baby.
The family, who live close to the Kruger National Park, had requested that their identity not be disclosed in the media.
Sponsors have come forward to help cover the child's intensive-care unit costs.

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