Google saves boy with snake bite

Posted on August 11, 2009

 

PythonIt’s hard to say just what is more surprising about this story. Is it the fact that a gang of youths in Bristol carried a bag of snakes around with them in order to attack children, or is that an ambulance crew member used his mobile phone to Google pictures of the snakes to work out what type of snake bit the boy?

A fourteen-year-old boy was bitten by a snake (which was later identified as being a python like the one pictured, so not poisonous) when he was attacked by a group of teenagers. They forced the boy up against a wall and held a python up to him until it bit his hand.

When ambulance crews arrived they were understandably desperate to identify the snake that bit the boy so that any antidote could be prepared, if necessary. One of the crew members, Michael Howells, then Googled pictures of snakes on his phone so that the boy could make an ID of his attacker.

A spokesperson for the ambulance crew stated:

The group was apparently carrying several snakes and forced one of them to bite the boy on the hand, leaving two puncture wounds.

According to Mr Howells, the Googling was necessary to identify the snake in case the boy had been poisoned by venom.

He was reasonably sure he could identify the type, so I sent the image to our control room.

Staff there called Bristol Zoo, which said the snake was not poisonous.

Although the patient was suffering breathing difficulties after the attack, this was probably due to panic rather than a reaction to the bite – I would probably be panicky if that happened to me.

No word on the boys who were carrying the bag of snakes has emerged, but people in Bristol are advised to be careful.

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