Today’s top essay a chilling and yet very informative read called A Rattle with Death in Yosemite
The drt around me had long since soaked up the liquid that had been in my body. I was pale and sweating, moaning in pain. My blood, unable to clot, wept from the puncture wounds on my ankle, and bruising, a sign of internal hemorrhaging, had bloomed to above my knee.
Around the time Yardley and Garrett arrived, my mom noticed patches of blood in my bile but didn’t mention it. “Why scare anybody worse?” she said later…..
Still Hayes keeps a collection of snakebite kits in a display case outside his Loma Linda office. There are dozens. Some contain razors to cut the wound, to milk the venom out. Others have pumps to suck a bite dry, or sulfide to sterilize it. That day in Yosemite, we didn’t have one of these kits, which is probably just as well. None of them work. Nor do any of the folk treatments people still try today, which call for everything from freezing the wound to slathering it with motor oil, silver nitrate, or a poultice made from the snake’s crushed head. “Antivenom—that’s the only cure,” Hayes told me.
Today’s antivenom isn’t so different from the stuff developed in the 1890s by French scientist Albert Calmette. After a flood pushed water-averse cobras into the Vietnamese village where he was studying, 40 people were bitten, and four died. Calmette, who was a protégé of Louis Pasteur, applied the same techniques his mentor was using to produce vaccines for rabies and anthrax. He milked cobras and injected tiny amounts of venom into horses. After a few weeks, Calmette extracted the horse blood and spun out antibodies that targeted cobra venom.
RTWT AT A Rattle with Death in Yosemite