Snake bite: signs to seek emergency help

The Ben Siman Tov family’s vacation was interrupted when their 11-year-old son, Jonathan Zion, was bitten by a snake and developed a harsh reaction that put his life in danger. “If it weren’t for the Hadassah doctors, my son wouldn’t be alive today.”

The Ben Siman Tov family’s family vacation almost ended in terrible disaster, when their 11-year-old son, Jonathan Zion, was bitten by a highly poisonous viper and only a quick response and specific medical treatment managed to save his life. He arrived at the hospital in critical condition, anesthetized and receiving respiratory assistance.

“We went on vacation to a B&B in the Beit Shemesh area,” said Eli, Jonathan Zion’s father. “One afternoon I heard screaming from the patio, I ran to see what was happening, and I saw everyone hysterical. My son screamed that he had been bitten by a snake, and in less than a minute he started vomiting and collapsed in front of my eyes. We immediately called the Magen David Adom, who gave us instructions until the ambulance arrived, which quickly took us to the hospital ”.

“It was a journey that lasted forever, during which Jonathan Zion’s condition rapidly deteriorated, he was put to sleep and ventilated,” said the father, recalling moments of panic and great concern for his son’s life. “During the trip, the wonderful MDA staff were in contact with the hospital, Hadassah Ein Kerem, and we kept updating them on the situation. I don’t have enough words to describe the first moment we got out of the ambulance. Army of doctors was waiting. my Jonathan. “

Six doctors were waiting for the boy, who were prepared in advance for the arrival of a snakebite victim, including Dr. Wassim Majhad, one of whose areas of expertise is the treatment of stings and bites.

Majhad was not at the hospital when he received the news and said he understood immediately that he had to get to Hadassah as quickly as possible.

“I was with my family at my parents’ house when Shoshi, a nurse in charge of the emergency room, called to tell me that an 11-year-old boy who had been bitten by a snake was receiving respiratory aid and was anesthetized and was to be taken to Hadassah. I immediately dropped everything and drove to the hospital quickly, “he recalled.

“While driving to the hospital, I received updates on the boy and his medical condition. Based on all the symptoms he was suffering from – unconsciousness, continuous vomiting and swelling in the hand, and the geographic area in which he was bitten – I consulted with Prof. Kobi Assaf , director of the department of emergency medicine and expert in poisonings and bites, and we understood that it was an Israeli viper ”.

He added that in most cases of bites, the snake disappears fairly quickly and there is no definitive identification of it, so Israel is divided into several geographical areas, the types of snakes common in that area, and the medical signs. . Based on this assessment, the patient receives the appropriate treatment.

‘They fought with all their might for the boy’

At the hospital, doctors immediately realized that Jonathan Zion’s condition was very serious and that his reaction to the poison was acute.

“Dr. Majhad informed us that Jonathan’s vital signs were bad but that they were fighting with all their might to get my son back,” said Eli Ben Siman Tov. “I believed him. I felt we were in good hands. It was a shaky moment, we were really hoping for a miracle.”

Jonathan developed a very acute systemic reaction, swelling in his hand and loss of consciousness, so he was breathing. The team of doctors gave him an IV and closely followed his vital signs.

“It was important to us in the first few hours to make sure she was not developing sectional syndrome, a condition in which swelling in the hand causes massive pressure on the blood vessels and could stop blood flow to that area and cause necrosis.” . “Majhad explained.” To our relief and family happiness, his vital signs improved, his blood pressure stabilized and he began to breathe on his own. ”

Even after Jonathan left the emergency room and was transferred to a room for further treatment, Majhad continued to closely monitor his recovery.

“I was in close contact with the family and went to see Jonathan frequently until he was released. It was something special, I felt like he was my son, ”he said.

As a token of appreciation and gratitude, Jonathan Zion and his father came to the ER as a surprise to thank Majhad and the medical staff who saved his life.

“Dr. Majhad took Jonathan Zion as a project,” said the father. “It was his day off but he came anyway, especially for Jonathan. He did not leave us for a moment. They were all amazing and excellent, all the doctors and all the nurses. I thank you and I will thank you all my life ”.

The hospital seeks to alert and raise awareness about the danger of being bitten, due to the relative multiplicity of cases, although this is not usually the season when snakes are particularly active.

“We are seeing more bites in the months when the number of bites tends to decrease,” Assaf explained. “The bites usually occur in the summer and spring months, but in [the fall] This year we are seeing more bites than usual, which is probably due to the relatively warm temperatures.

“We call on all people who travel and live in open areas to be vigilant, and in case of need, go immediately to the hospital for medical treatment,” he said.

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