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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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3 December, 2020

Emotional reunion for snake bite victim

GRAHAM (Keith) Jackson lived to tell the tale of his recent encounter with a dangerous reptile as the 62-year-old was reunited on Monday with the Longreach paramedics who saved his life.

By Hamish Hart

Keith Jackson (centre) said he was forever grateful for the support given to him by Longreach paramedics Frank Smith (left) and Ryan Parish.

Mr Jackson felt a sting after stepping outside his home in Ilfracombe and discovered he had been bitten twice on the toe by a brown snake, one of the world’s most deadly.

“I knew I’d been bitten, but I didn’t feel any pain,” he said. “I definitely don’t want to do it again.”

Keith’s wife Rhonda contacted 000 immediately after receiving a phone call from her husband, who was assisted by nearby friends of the family, until paramedics, who were 29 kilometres away at Longreach Hospital at the time, could arrive.

Longreach paramedics, Frank Smith and Ryan Parish, began transporting Mr Jackson to Longreach Hospital for further treatment. However the patient’s condition deteriorated as he went into respiratory arrest and stopped breathing.

“Initially Keith was calm and relaxed,” Mr Smith said. “It wasn’t until we got in the vehicle and began to travel that he said he felt sick and nauseous.

“I turned around to get a bag he could be sick in to, and when I turned back around, he was non-responsive.”

Mr Jackson was successfully resuscitated by paramedics and made it to Longreach Hospital. He was transported to Rockhampton Hospital later that afternoon by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Mrs Jackson said her husband’s life-threatening experience had been a horrifying one for herself and Keith.

“A nurse asked me to wait in the lounge at Longreach Hospital,” she said. “She put her hand on my shoulder and explained to me Keith wasn’t in a good way. It was very emotional.

“Walking into the patient room and seeing Keith behind the curtain was quite a shock. It wasn’t something I ever pictured and I had to get out for some fresh air.

“It could have been a totally different situation. Without the doctors, paramedics, nurses and RFDS, Keith wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

Kenneth Eyles, of the Queensland Ambulance Service, reminded all to take extra care to avoid snakes as hotter months approached.

“Avoid walking through long grass, wear enclosed shoes, have communication handy to let someone know where you are going, and ensure you have quick access to a quality compression bandage,” Mr Eyles said.

“Bites are not always visible but may include puncture marks, bleeding or scratches. Avoid washing a snake bite wound as the hospital may need to test the bandage for poison to identify the type of snake.

“You should also try to bandage over the snake bite firmly, then work up the limb starting at the extremities, splint the limb to keep it straight and advise the patient to avoid unnecessary movements.”

If you are bitten by a snake, or witness a bite occur, contact 000 immediately.

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