Reactions have emerged following the death of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Personnel, Lance Corporal Ogah Bercy, attached to the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
She died of complications from snakebite in her toilet at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja.
May her soul rest in peace Amen.
There are popular misconceptions surrounding snake bites, and they need to be corrected so that victims and helpers do less harm in the event of a snake bite.
1. As much as possible, do not move the affected limb.
Most snake bites do not immediately enter the blood stream. From the site of bite, the venom first encounters your lymphatic system where it sits for a while before moving to the blood stream where distribution to the rest of the body becomes much quicker.
The lymphatic system only gets most of its pumping when you move around.
The less you move around, the more time you buy for yourself.
If some other person is present, the person can seek for help while you stay in one place, especially if you are no longer in danger of the snake.
2. Do not tie the affected limb.
This action does not achieve anything, as it does not limit the spread of the venom.
If anything, tying the limb, especially after it has swollen, greatly increases the risk of amputation as it actually reduces blood flow to vital muscles of the leg, leading to cell death.
3. A mild bandage around the bite site is allowed.
This can help soak some of the venom for eventual identification in the laboratory, in order to find out the best antidote to be given.
This is especially helpful in areas with different snakes and different venoms.
That lady at the Nigerian Airforce Base was very unfortunate.
I can almost reconstruct the moments leading to the snake bite and her eventual death.
She likely went to urinate.
As the urine trickled down, the snake followed the track of urine as it flowed and probably bit her right in her vagina, an area very rich in blood supply.
1. The nearer the site of bite to rich blood supply, the shorter it would take the venom to have effect.
If the snake had bitten her limb, or bare buttocks she may have had a chance.
2. Her fate was then further compromised as instead of going to hospital immediately, she went somewhere else to drop her children.
In driving, you sit and adjust your bottom in the seat.
This probably further distributed the venom to the rest of her circulation.
3. The hospital where she went, did not administer the anti-venom immediately as the official was allegedly not on seat.
All these three scenarios I believe contributed to her death.
Hopefully, with what we now know, we can avoid a repeat of this unfortunate event in future.