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Posted by W von Papinešu on February 01, 2003 at 08:36:55:
BONITA DAILY NEWS (Florida) 01 February 03 Lee County man in serious condition from cobra bite
Fort Myers (AP): A Lee County man was in serious condition Friday after being bitten by his pet cobra.
David Wheathers, 25, was struck in the stomach by the 5-foot snake while handling it Thursday night, authorities said.
A friend drove him to Lee Memorial Hospital, where Wheathers received 10 vials of antivenin.
Capt. Al Cruz, the director of "Venom 1", a unit of the Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue specially trained to administer antivenin, flew to Fort Myers to deliver and administer the antivenin.
"He would have died without our assistance, without the antivenin," said Lt. Ernie Jillson, of the antivenin unit.
Jillson said Wheathers is likely to make a full recovery, though he may have some permanent damage to his abdomen. He will likely remain hospitalized for a few more days, Jillson said.
The snake that bit Wheathers was an Asian monocled cobra, so-called because it has a circle on its hood. Wheathers is licensed by the state to keep snakes at his home, Jillson said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was investigating the incident. Agency officials didn't immediately return calls Friday.
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department is believed to have the nation's largest collection of antivenin ó 16 different types covering about 90 percent of the world's poisonous snakes.
About 500 people have received antivenin through the county's program since it began in 1998, Jillson said. In about 30 or 35 of those cases, the patient would have likely died without their assistance, he said.