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[pct-l] snake bite

All this talk about snake and other hazards reminds me of a true story.  Years ago, my mother's best friend from grade school, Marion Vine, was killed sleeping in her own bed back in Rhode Island . . . she had just put her young son down for a nap, when small plane crashed into her house, killing her and the pilot (the child survived).  

This story has given me courage to confront my fears and get out of the comfort zone in life.  

-=Donna Saufley=-

-----Original Message-----
From: medusaj@aol.com
Sent: Mar 21, 2005 5:09 AM
To: pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net
Subject: [pct-l] snake bite

Ten years of backpacking and hiking, not counting the years in utero and as an infant before my parents took a twenty-year backpacking break, no rattlesnake bites or strikes.  I did see a rattlesnake coiled on the AT last year, but that was probably because hoods-in-the-woods kids were messing with it.  Don't know anyone who's been killed (although One-Leg, the one-legged guy on the AT last year, had his c-leg struck at).
I lived in Thailand for many years and there's a much bigger problem with poisonous snakes there--even then most of the people killed are those who work at snake farms milking cobras.  There, getting bit is a rite of passage.  Most of the snake farm workers have been bit many times.
My father has been bit by several scorpions in southeast Asia--and his greatest fear for me on the PCT is being attacked by bears.
I do, however, know someone who was killed by lightning.  A friend of mine in Maine was walking through a field with his son and daughter in a storm.  They were all struck.  His son died.  He was struck again years later, but again survived.
To bring this slightly on-topic again:  I'm not worried about snakes on the PCT.  I think everyone's thoughts on the snakes being more afraid of us than we are of them are pretty much right on.  It's very helpful to know that suction is NOT an approved treatment anymore.  I'm hiking with a partner, which is the best defense IMHO--you have someone to go for help.
(My apologies to JoAnn...)
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 17:50:18 -0800
From: "Freiman, Paul" <pfreiman@ucsd.edu>
Subject: [pct-l] snake bite
To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

I will tell you what happened to my friend, Jim Sugg, who holds the record for 
the most units of anti-venom in San Diego County.

Jim was leading a group cross country down the San Diego River, a very remote 
spot and they were half way done with the trip.  It appears that Jim stepped on 
a huge rattler.  He thought it was a jumping cholla that was stabbing him and he 
kept walking.  The snake had a lot of time to bite him.  This was as bad as it 
gets.  Jim sent the fastest person to get help.  He realized that the canyon 
walls were too steep for a helicopter to land safely, so he kept walking.  I 
think it was 8 hours before he was able to get a doctors help. 

Jim lived to a ripe old age and kept leading hikes for over 10 more years.  I 
believe he was 80 when he died.  By the way, he only had one lung (he was very 
sickly before he took up hiking).  Yes, he almost died when the snake bit him, 
but I have personally never heard of a person dying if they can get to the 
hospital within 24 hours.  A snake bite destroys the red blood cells.  If you 
cut yourself with a snake bite kit in an attempt to draw out the venom you can 
bleed yourself and thereby promote the risk of going into shock.
Capt Bivy
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