Snakebites are a constant threat to life. PNG has some of the highest rates of envenomation in the world, which reflects that the majority of the population live in rural areas. Despite improvements in the early treatment of snakebite, delivering first aid training to remote regions is a major challenge.
The drugs we’ve given Alois should obviate the need for a breathing tube to be placed in his windpipe, but it’s a close call.
Had his lungs showed signs of paralysis, there would have been no choice but to manually support his breathing. In the absence of standard ventilation equipment, this is a risky and laborious business.
In Australia, a situation such as this would be managed in an intensive care unit, but that facility doesn’t exist here.
Watch Dr Rob Mitchell re-tell So close, yet so far:
So close, yet so far by Dr Rob Mitchell appears in EMERGENCY: Real Stories from Australia’s ED Doctors, available now from Penguin Books Australia.