Snake bite escape

By EVAN SCHWARTEN ? HANDLING poisonous snakes is part of everyday life for Wil Kemp but getting bitten by a death-adder is not.

The 20-year-old zoo-keeper was rushed to hospital by his fiance, Kahlia Pepper, about 7pm on Wednesday night after being bitten on the middle finger by his pet death-adder, the ninth most deadly snake in the world.

Fortunately Wil had finished a first aid course and was able to instruct his fiancee how to treat him.

She firmly bandaged the area around the bite before putting a splint on his right arm and bandaging all the way up to the shoulder.

Yesterday he credited Kahlia's actions with saving his life.

"I'm very, very lucky,'' he said.

He said Kahlia had been careful not to wipe any of the venom away from the bite, helping staff at Rockhampton Hospital to identify what he was bitten by and whether any venom had entered his system.

While the bandage remained in place, Wil did not feel any symptoms and it was not until he was moved into Intensive Care that it was removed.

"They warned me that the first ten minutes after the bandage was removed could be the worst of my life.''

"They said I might have bleary vision, migraines and paralysis...I didn't get any of those.''

Remarkably, Wil experienced very little reaction and doctors did not need to use an antivenom.

By 2pm yesterday Wil was out of hospital and planning to return to his job at Rockhampton Zoo.

He said while he did not intend to stop working with snakes or to give up his pets, he had learnt a big lesson. "It has given me something to think about,'' he said.

"At least now when I'm showing people snakes at the zoo I will be able to tell them first hand how important first aid is.



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