Snakebite kills 50,000 Indians a year, but the deadly venom isn't the only thing you have to worry about, Shahina KK writes in a revealing article for this week's OPEN.
It's just as likely that you'll get to the hospital to find that they don't have any anti-venom, or it's not the right kind, or the facility doesn't have the right equipment needed to clean your blood.
Forty-eight hours after the snakebite, Maria Benedict met her end in Bangalore. Her death was not inevitable. It came of organ failure: her kidneys shut down. One of the hospitals she had the misfortune of going to did not have a dialysis machine that was suitable for use on children, though it had a well-
equipped ICU for patients with disorders brought on by wealthier pursuits. Also, the Anti-Snake Venom (ASV) serum she was given did not prove effective enough as an antidote.
Cobra documentary maker Romulus Whitaker is leading a research effort to replace the current broadstroke ASV -- which works on bites from the Spectacled Cobra, Common Krait, Russell’s Viper and Saw-Scaled Viper, aka "the Big Four" -- with more specific antidotes, Shahina explains. But currently the government doesn't have an action plan like the ones for malaria, filaria, polio and other such diseases.