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by Paul Auerbach
There are two excellent photographs of a rattlesnake bite victim
that appear in the June 10, 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine
(362;23:2212). Entitled “Rattlesnake Envenomation” in the IMAGES IN CLINICAL
MEDICINE feature, they show the bitten finger and the effects on the torso of a man
who presented for medical care within a half hour of having been bitten by a
rattlesnake. He was treated with antivenom prior to being admitted to the
The finger image shows the local effect of the venom in this
victim, which could have caused tissue destruction (but did not, which is most
likely attributable to the timely administration of a sufficient amount of
antivenom). The torso image shows the extensive bruising associated with the
blood clotting disorder that developed because of the systemic effects of the
venom, which combined to prolong bleeding time in this victim. Despite the initial
administration of antivenom, the victim continued to develop his bleeding
problem, so was administered additional antivenom, which is needed to
counteract the venom effects. The patient had a full recovery, which is a
credit both to the victim (for promptly seeking medical care) and to the
treating physicians, who knew how to properly treat a venomous rattlesnake bite
Reprinted with permission from Healthline.com
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