Antivenin flown in to poisonous snakebite victim in Grand Rapids

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The victim of a poisonous snakebite in Grand Rapids was treated with snake antivenin flown in specially from Kentucky as part of a medical emergency Friday.

Friday afternoon a medevac plane took off from Traverse City and landed at 3:33 p.m. at the airport in Lexington, Ky., where officials from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo were waiting with antivenin to be flown back to Grand Rapids. Antivenin is serum containing antibodies against specific poisons, especially those in the venom of snakes, spiders and scorpions.

The plane landed at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids at 5:03 p.m. Friday with the antivenin.

Kristen Wiley, curator at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, which is located an hour east of Lexington in Slade, Ky., said the zoo was contacted by a Grand Rapids hospital “because they had a person who had been bitten by a bush viper from Africa (pictured).

“There is no specific antivenin for that kind of snake,” she said. “However, antivenin for a saw-scaled viper has been shown to have some effect on this bite, so that’s the antivenin we sent up there.”

Officials at Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids would not say how the patient responded to the treatment.

“We have not heard anything (about if it worked or not),” said Wiley.

“We get calls like this several times a year,” she said. “We have a lot of antivenin for medical research here. In this case we were the closest supply.”

Bush vipers come in a variety of sizes and colors and are native to tropical sub-Saharan Africa. They live only in rainforests while in the wild.

Wiley said the poisonous snake was most likely a pet belonging to someone in West Michigan.

“We know almost certainly this was a snake that was held privately,” she said. “Not a zoo.”

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15 comments

  • caroline

    2 vital mistakes just in the title. Won’t waste me time reading the rest of the…erm…trash? Should read: ANTIVENOM flown in to VENEMOUS snakebite victim in Grand Rapids

  • Mark S.

    Sorry, but if you have a poisonous snake as a pet and it bites you, you ought to be on the hook for whatever expense goes into saving your sorry butt. Including jet fuel, airport fees, paying the pilot, etc……your insurance company (i.e the rest of us) should not be on the hook for that.

    • mariah

      That is truly ignorant of you to say. How do you know he wasn’t using them to help with research? You don’t know how it even happened. It could of been a total accident. And for you to say something like that it like saying ” let’s take you off life support for getting in a car accident because your stupid. Yet the doctors are helping you and you have a chance to survive.” No I don’t know the whole situation but no one does but him and hopefully the doctors. Maybe yes he will learn his lesson, or maybe he will go back to doing what he loves! So before you say negative things think about his family who may have read it. They don’t deserve that!

      • Lyds

        According to the reptile zoo FB, the guy was free handling the snake. So no, not researching, just being stupid. Jan’s comment was still pretty damn ignorant though, but I’m sure she’s never done anything stupid.

    • Lynne

      Jan, this is a cruel comment for anyone to make. This man is an experienced handler and has many species of reptiles. He also just became a father a week or two ago. That baby boy deserves to have his father around.

  • BBL

    Ummm….was the snake contained? Should others be concerned? Did the victim die? Where was the snake being kept? I feel as though I NEED more information.

  • Tim Villerot

    Venomous snake is the correct way. As seen below, antivenin is correct. So is antivenom.
    antivenin [an″te-, an″ti-ven´in]
    a material used to neutralize the venom of a poisonous animal; it is composed of concentrated purified antibodies from the serum of an immunized animal, frequently a horse.
    black widow spider antivenin antivenin (Latrodectus mactans).
    antivenin (Crotalidae) polyvalent a serum containing specific venom-neutralizing globulins, produced by immunizing horses with venoms of the fer-de-lance and the western, eastern, and tropical rattlesnakes, used for treatment of envenomation by most pit vipers throughout the world.
    antivenin (Latrodectus mactans) a serum containing specific venom-neutralizing globulins, prepared by immunizing horses against venom of the black widow spider (L. mactans).
    antivenin (Micrurus fulvius) a serum containing specific venom-neutralizing globulins, produced by immunization of horses with venom of the eastern coral snake (M. fulvius).
    North American coral snake antivenin antivenin (Micrurus fulvius).
    polyvalent crotaline antivenin antivenin (Crotalidae) polyvalent.

    antivenom Antivenin Toxicology A vehicle that contains an antibody or other substance that binds specifically to a toxin, deactivating it

  • Ron Martell

    An animal is poisonous if you eat it and it makes you sick and venomous if it injects its venom into you. They are related terms but not interchangeable.

  • Karen

    Ugh! Venom is injected and poison is consumed or touched! There is a “poisonous” snake, but the Bush Viper is not it. For a major news organization it is pathetic they don’t know the difference.