x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

RAK man dies after being bitten in his bathroom

The brother of a Ras al Khaimah resident who died four days after an apparent snake bite said two hospitals in the emirate should have treated him sooner.

DUBAI // The brother of a Ras al Khaimah resident who died four days after an apparent snake bite said two hospitals in the emirate should have treated him sooner.

T Prabakharan, a carpenter from Kerala, was bitten on July 12 in the bathroom of his home. Though he did not see the creature, the neighbourhood is known to have snakes and he found puncture marks on his skin, his brother and then-roommate Raju said in a phone call from India.

The men went to Saqr Hospital, which focuses on surgeries, but were turned away, Raju said. They then went to Saif bin Ghobash Hospital, which handles such cases. They gave a sample of Mr Prabhakaran’s blood and went home. Soon afterward, the hospital called and requested more blood.

The next day, Mr Prabhakaran was admitted to Saif bin Ghobash Hospital for three days. It is unclear what type of treatment he received. Last Friday, he was transferred to Saqr Hospital intensive care unit for ventilation, which was only available there, but died overnight after a few hours, and his body has been sent home.

“Both hospitals were at fault for not treating him on time,” Raju said.

The duty manager at Saif bin Ghobash Hospital yesterday said he was not authorised to comment.

The Saqr Hospital duty manager confirmed that Mr Prabhakaran had arrived last weekend and died there. He said he did not know if Saqr Hospital had turned Mr Prabhakaran away. If so, he said, it would have been because the surgical hospital was not the right place for snakebite treatment.

Antivenin must be administered soon after an attack and be designated for the correct type of snake. Without a description of the snake, it might have been hard to treat the bite, said Ajmal Hasan, who studies snakes in the UAE. “You need that specific antidote.”

Hospitals should be sure to stock sufficient antivenin, even though deadly snake bites are rare, he said.

The poisonous snakes commonly found in Ras al Khaimah, the saw-scaled viper and Oman carpet viper, usually come out at night, and stay away from humans.

During the day they often hide in the shade, he said. They tend to avoid humans unless they feel provoked or threatened.

The Indian Association Ras al Khaimah said it was looking into the death, adding that it was not appropriate to blame anyone until the matter was thoroughly investigated.

newsdesk@thenational.ae