Observations on Local Measures in the Treatment of Snake Bite

Frederick M. Allen New York, New York

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In another paper (1) the general subject of the mechanical treatment of venomous bites is discussed, and reasons are given for abandoning the now prevalent use of occlusive tourniquets. By suitable constriction the absorption of a rapidly diffusible and destructible poison, such as strychnine and presumably some arrow poisons, can be delayed with such success as to save life after injection of several times the fatal dose in an extremity. With snake venom there is no such success, because this poison is too slowly absorbed and destroyed; furthermore the circulatory stasis increases the local necrosis and the consequent absorption of toxic tissue products. Accordingly, the treated animals never survive better than the controls, but on the contrary with certain doses of venom the treated animals suffer losses of limb or life while the controls have no more than ulceration.