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‘Family didn’t know she’d been bitten’: warning about snakes after six-year-old dies

A GIRL killed by a brown snake in Far North NSW did not know she had been bitten until several hours later when she was almost comatose, the shire’s deputy mayor says.
Nanjing Night Net

The six-year-old girldied on Saturday after being bitten on a property outside Walgett on Friday,prompting emergency services to issue a state-wide warning.

She was taken to Walgett Hospital,where doctors administered anti-venom, about 3pmon Friday.

She was thenflown to the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, where she was placed on life support.

After her condition deteriorated significantly, she was transferred back to Walgett Hospital, where she died.

Walgett Shire deputy mayor Jane Keir, a registered nurse for more than 40 years, said she believed the girl did not see the snake and did not know that she had been bitten until several hours later.

By the time her family took her to Walgett Hospital, it was a “pretty drastic case” and there was probably little that could have been done, she said.

“I believe the family didn’t know she’dbeen bitten and, by the time they’d realised, she was comatose,” Cr Keir said.

“The little girl could have been on the edge of Sydney and the result would have been the same.”

Cr Keir said she believed the girl trod on the snake while outside on her family’sproperty, about 25 kilometres from the Walgett township.

She was suffocating by the time she was admitted to hospital and the family wasn’t able to identify what snake bit her because no one saw it, Cr Keir said.

Eastern brown snakes cause more deaths than any other species of snake in Australia and victims often don’trealise they have been bitten.

The initial bite is generally painless and often difficult to detect, theAustralian Museum says.

Many bites are caused by people trying to kill ormove them or accidentally treadingon inactive snakesthat are sheltering beneath logs, rocks orman-made covers such as sheets of iron or building material.

The snakes react defensively and viciously if surprised or cornered. They typically have small fangs but extremely potent venom that can cause progressive paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding that can spread to the brain.

Tips include:

• If you are bitten by a snake, ensure someone calls Triple Zero (000) immediately;

• Until help arrives, if the bite is on a limb, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage but not so tight it will cut off circulation;

• If the bite is not on a limb, apply direct and firm pressure to the bite site with your hands (it is also important the patient is kept still); and,

• Check items of clothing that have been left outside before wearing them and if you lift something such as a rock or log, lift the object so it’s facing away from you.

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