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Sorting out snakebites in Phuket

Ever wanted to know what to do – and more importantly, which hospital to go to – if you are bitten by a snake in Phuket? Read on to find out all the answers…

animals, accidents, death, health,


The Phuket News

Tuesday 19 July 2016, 11:00AM


If you’re not sure what kind of snake bit you, it is recommended you try to take the snake with you so hospital staff can identify it and treat you accordingly. Photo: Alasdair Forbes
If you’re not sure what kind of snake bit you, it is recommended you try to take the snake with you so hospital staff can identify it and treat you accordingly. Photo: Alasdair Forbes

QUESTION

I keep seeing the stories of dangerous snakes being caught by those very handy rescue workers who seem to be within arm’s reach anywhere in Phuket, but I have yet to read anywhere exactly what I should do if either myself or someone near me is bitten by a snake.

Do hospitals here keep anti-venom in stock to treat snakebites? What about the local clinics? What basic steps should I take at the scene?

Any information would be great, as right now I haven’t got a clue.

-Chuck, Chalong.

 

ANSWER

Each of the three main government hospitals on the island – Vachira Phuket Hospital, Patong Hospital and Thalang Hospital – keeps its own stock of anti-venom provided by the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute.

Vachira Hospital in Phuket Town keeps reserves in case the other hospitals run out of stock.

Local government health clinics are run by whichever local authority is responsible for that area, such as the local municipality or Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor).

As such, the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) does not directly organise for these clinics keep anti-venom in stock. It would be best for you to check with the local council in your area about this.

The same applies to all private clinics. You will need to check with the private clinics in your area to see if they carry anti-venom for snakebites.

One handy thing to remember is that if you’re not sure which snake bit the victim, including yourself, it is best to bring the snake with you so staff at the hospital can correctly identify it and administer the correct anti-venom.

That said, most of the people treated for snakebites in Phuket were bitten by either a cobra or a green pit viper. All three government hospitals in Phuket keep anti-venom for these snakes in stock.

– A Pharmacy Department official at Vachira Phuket Hospital.

 

There is no anti-venom in stock at the Chalong Accident & Emergency Centre, located at the Chalong Hospital still under construction (opposite HomePro Village shopping centre near Chalong Circle).

If you or someone near you is bitten by a snake, administer first aid and then get the victim to hospital as quickly and safely possible.

Do not suck the snake bite. Just clean the wound with soap and tie a cloth or rope over the bite, then get them to a hospital.

– Dr Bancha Kakong, Chief of the Phuket Public Health Office.

 

 

Phuket International Hospital only keeps anti-venom against cobra snakebites. We recommend anyone with a poisonous snakebite – or anyone unsure if the snake bite is poisonous – to go to Vachira Hospital where they keep a wide range of anti-venom.

– Kajornporn Suripai­san­sakul, the Pharmacy Manager at Phuket International Hospital.

 

 

British International School, Phuket

The Bangkok Hospital Phuket Pharmacy and Emergency Service Department carries the following anti-venom:

Anti Snake Serum Hematotoxic Polyvalent:

- For Asian snakes such as Malayan Pit Viper, Green Pit Viper, Russell’s Viper

Anti Snake Serum Neurotoxic Polyvalent:

- For Cobra, King Cobra, Banded Krait, Malayan Krait

Regarding first aid, you might have heard that it is best to tie something tight above the snakebite to slow the flow of venom throughout the body.

That advice was usually accompanied by the caution to keep the tourniquet tight for five minutes, then release the tourniquet to get bloodflow back into the affected area and then tighten the tourniquet again – all the way to the hosptial.

These days we only recommend that the patient try not to move as much as possible. Just keep movement to a minimum and get the victim to the nearest hospital.

If someone killed the snake which bit the patient, keep the dead snake and bring it to the hospital or take a photo of it so we can identify which kind of snake bit the patient.

If the patient doesn’t know what kind of snake bit him, he will need to be kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) for 24-48 hours for observation.

– Patchareeya Wongmanee, Deputy Head of Department, Emergency Room, Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

 

 

The Phuket Provincial Hospital (also called the “OrBorJor Hospital”) in Rassada does not keep any anti-venom in stock.

If any patients arrive with a snakebite, we treat them with first aid but then transfer them to Vachira Phuket Hospital for further treatment.

– A staffer at Phuket Provincial Hospital.

 

 

Dibuk Hospital does not keep any anti-venom in stock. We send any patients with snakebites to Vachira Hospital because they keep a full range of anti-snakebite serums there. It is better for the patient to get the correct serum as quickly as possible.

– Kattika Rakdee, Head of Nurse Operations, Dibuk Hospital.

 

 

If you find a snake in your house or yard, you can call the Kusoldharm Rescue Foundation at 076-246599 or 076 246301 – 24 hours a day. The foundation will contact workers on standby near your location to provide assistance.

We will release the snake in the forest at Toh Sae Hill or Khao Phra Thaeo National Wildlife Reserve.

– A staffer on the Kusoldharm rescue hotline.

 

 

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Local Resident | 19 July 2016 - 14:00:07

I noticed that I also have 2 other numbers in my phone. 076 283 346 which I have called in the past to catch a snake and also a number 1669 which I think is an emergency line for people that are bitten. Maybe you can clarify these numbers please. Very helpful article as well

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