(19 March 2004, Si Sa Ket Province, Thailand) During his snake-handling performance, Boonreung the "Snake Man" was bitten on the right elbow by a deadly mamba. While a lesser mortal might have rushed to a doctor for a dose of antivenin, the daring 34-year-old had his own treatment method: he downed a shot of whiskey and some herbal medicine. But alcohol and herbs are not generally recognized as effective against snake bites. It was on with the show -- until paralysis gradually took hold, and he collapsed.
The mamba's bite was described by
Jack, of Jack Seale's Snake and Animal Park near Johannesburg, as "a
pure neurotoxin, it gives you a buzz." The victim becomes
lightheaded, tingly and warm. "It's a lovely feeling," says Seale.
A single bite can deliver 400 milligrams of paralyzing venom; a mere
10 milligrams can be fatal to a human. When Seale was bitten, his
treatment consisted of injections of antivenin, cortisone, and
adrenalin, which helped him survive long enough to be hooked up to a
heart-lung machine. After a week of dialysis and blood transfusions,
he could finally wiggle a single finger. ("Black Mamba!"
International Wildlife, Nov/Dec 1996.
At this point, he was unable to speak, and thus raised no objections as bystanders took him to Praibung Hospital. But it was too late. The poison had spread throughout his body, and he died the same day. Ironically, Boonreung is immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records for having spent seven days in a roomful of venomous snakes in 1998.
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Submitted by: Dan Gutman
Reference: AP Asia