RACQ CQ Rescue has airlifted a 34-year-old man to hospital today after he was bitten by an enormous, highly-venomous brown snake while mustering cattle on a property near Clermont.
The Charters Towers man was riding a motorbike on a property about 50km south-west of Clermont about 8am when he rode over the top of the seven-foot long brown snake. The angry snake then reared up and bit him on his lower right leg penetrating the skin through his denim jeans.
RACQ CQ Rescue air crewman Shane Bargh said the patient told them he immediately fell off the motorbike with the snake still attached to his calf. Instinctively, he proceeded to grab the snake behind the back of the head to pull it off his leg and throw it away from him.
Mr Bargh said the patient told the rescue helicopter crew, which included a doctor and Critical Care Paramedic (CCP), the snake was “so big” it took his entire hand span to grab its head to pull it off his leg.
The cattleman then quickly alerted workers mustering with him that he’d been bitten and they quickly applied a pressure mobilisation bandage to the wound and called 000.
RACQ CQ Rescue was en route to the cattle property when the decision was made by paramedics on scene that, given the potential severity of the situation, the patient should be transferred to Clermont by road to meet the helicopter.
RACQ CQ Rescue diverted its flight path and landed at the Clermont Airfield about 9.54am to meet the ambulance crew. Mr Bargh said the man was by then suffering severe chest pain and was very unwell, all common symptoms of envenomation.
The Mackay-based rescue helicopter departed an hour later with the patient on board in a stable condition and arrived at Mackay Base Hospital by 12pm.
Today’s patient was the third person airlifted by RACQ CQ Rescue after a snake bite in just six weeks.
Mr Bargh said with any snake bite, stopping the lymphatic spread of the venom was of paramount importance. Always bandage the limb firmly, splint it if possible and immobilise the patient immediately.
For any snake bite seek medical attention immediately. Untreated, envenomation by a brown snake can result in eventual paralysis, uncontrollable bleeding and possible death.
“Every snake bite should be managed as a medical emergency. Correct first aid could save a snake victim’s life,” Mr Bargh said.