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FL Press: Punta Gorda man expected to recover from venom


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Posted by W von Papineäu on February 02, 2003 at 09:22:31:

In Reply to: FL Press:Lee County man in serious condition from cobra bite posted by W von Papineäu on February 01, 2003 at 08:36:55:

NEWS-PRESS (Fort Myers, Florida) 02 February 03 Cobra bites snake handler - Punta Gorda man expected to recover from venom (Karen Johnson)
A Punta Gorda man suffered a cobra bite Wednesday night while preparing a snake exhibit for the Octagon Animal Sanctuary at the Shell Factory.
David Weathers, president of the animal sanctuary, had put one of his 25 cobras into a transport carrier when he decided to take a different cobra instead.
“It was a freak thing. When I opened the cage, the snake was already agitated,” said Weathers, 25.
The monocled cobra bit Weathers on his stomach and held on for 10 seconds, which is long enough to give a lethal dose.
Weathers, who has been bitten by other kinds of snakes, told his father to call 911 immediately.
The venom center at Miami-Dade Fire Rescue received the call at about 9:45 p.m., according to Lt. Ernie Jillson. Capt. Al Cruz flew to Fort Myers, arrived at Lee Memorial Hospital at about 12:30 a.m. and gave Weathers 10 vials of Thai cobra antivenin.
Weathers said within an hour of the bite, he was feeling the venom’s neurological effects including respiratory problems, tingling in the hands and slurred speech. When he arrived at Lee Memorial, he had trouble walking and started going into kidney failure.
He was told Friday that his blood work looked good and he would probably have a full recovery despite a 3-by-1.5 inch patch of necrosis — dead tissue — on his stomach.
This is the first time Weathers has been hospitalized for a snake bite, he said.
“Right now it feels like someone is kicking me in the chest and lighting me on fire at the same time,” Weathers said. “There is swelling and pain all down my left leg. Pretty typical for a cobra bite.”
The monocled cobra can grow to be 16 feet or longer. Jillson said its venom, as well as that of all cobras, is highly toxic.
“It’s a deadly cobra. Without the antivenin, he wouldn’t have survived,” Jillson said.
The grand opening of the serpentarium is still planned for Sunday during the Gumbo Festival, Weathers said.
“The sooner they let me out of here, the sooner I can start working,” Weathers said. “I may even be out there doing shows or something.”



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