The Darwin Awards

1999 At-Risk Survivor

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At-Risk Survivors have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

Kiss Bites Back
1999 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin

A medical research article on unusual rattlesnake bites described several bizarre human-snake interactions, including an intoxicated 45-year-old man who was "bitten on the tongue after placing his pet rattlesnake's head in his mouth in an attempt to calm the snake." The authors note that, "although human beings are not rattlesnake prey, envenomations (commonly occur) following intentional encounters with snakes." Bill Geissert found this information in Rattlesnake Envenomation: Unusual Case Presentations, DA Tanen MD et.al., Arch Intern Med. 2001;161:474-479

(30 July 1999, California) Ken from Carlsbad accepted a dare and kissed a snake, landing himself in mortal danger yesterday. Ken proudly bragged to his friends about a deadly young rattlesnake that he had taken into captivity the week before. They teased him by calling him a "snake lover," and they urged, "kiss your girlfriend, Ken."

When he did, the 3-foot rattler bit him on the lower lip and pumped its sac of venom into the unfortunate man. His head and throat swelled to 2x normal size, and Emergency Room personnel pumped vial after vial of antivenin into his bloodstream in a fight for his life.

After 3 hours of intubation and 25 doses of antivenin, Ken was out of danger at the Tri-City Medical Center.

The swelling from snakebite can cause necrosis of the affected tissue, and Ken might have lost part of his face. He was fortunate, and will only see bruised and stretched facial skin in the mirror. But he will suffer the consequences of his foolish act for weeks, as flu-like symptoms set in, caused by an immune response to antivenin.

Dr. Neil Joebchen was quoted, "In 26 years, this is the worst case I've seen. His muscles were quivering like he had worms under the skin."

Safety tip of the week: Don't play with rattlesnakes -- they bite!

Submitted by: Kevin Foster, Tre' Wells,
Fast Jer & Chuck
, Eugene Narsete, Jim Power
Reference: San Diego Union-Tribune

 

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