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THE FATAL' OASE OF ¡SNAKE. , ;'POISONINGjAJlBWAft-HILL. .
TO sax «DROB' or TUB ÍBQOB.
I Sir,'-An artier« 'on'a' fatal case of snake
( poisoning, at Swan-hilL extracted from -the ' Riverine Herald, appeared in your Friday's issue, commencing- '. ',
| "In consequence of the'importance at- tached ' to the question of the, efficacy of professor Halford, cure for snake-poisoning by ¡the injection of ammonia, which ia at' present'being considered by the medical1 profession in Melbourne, we have been at some tronble in'ascertaining the circum-
stances connected with the recent fatal case' at Swan-hill, in which Mrs. Falconer lost her life, the whole of the facts being obtained from Dr. M Intyre, who had the case in
charge. 'Mrs. Falconer, it appears, was bitten at half-past 2 p.m. on 3rd,November,
and Cr.1 M'Intyre was in attendance at a5 quarter-past 4, and after examining the
wound be at once injected 30 minima' of ammonia, and also applied it to the wound. At a quarter-past 5 pm. he again' injected 30 minims/and at 0 p.m'. he again injected 30 minims of ammonia. , During these opera-' tiona 'other stimulants in the shape of' bjrahdy were administered.-" ' > ' "
Iltis stated that Dr. M'Intyre also used the battery very freely from 6 p.m. of the 3rd of November' W balf-past 4 a.m. of the 4thf November, at which time 'Mrs. Falconer co ni plained of the battery being too strong. From this time Dr. M'Intyre states that the patient progressed favourably until 3 p.m. 'of the 5th November, when a change took place for the worse, clammy sweats having made their appear- ance, when am monia was again applied, and she revived a little. Ammonia was again used at 4 p.m., but from this time she gradually sank, and quietly passed away a little before 6pm, quite sensible to the last, fit) hours after the arrival of Dr. M'Intyre. Now, in this Btatement of the. facts of the case there is not one word as to the admi- nistering of nourishing food during the injoo non of ammonia and the administering of other stimulants in the form of brandy, ka., which are as necessary to the support'of the body during tbese operations as the am- monia ia to counteract i the action, of the virus, and unices the body be so supported during that time, when the time arrives that the virus ceases to act, or, in other words, is «nbdued by tbe action of the ammonia, then a lethargy BO terrible Bets in that there is not sufficient vitality in the system to pro- duce the reaction necessary, and the patient gradually sinks and quietly passes away quiet sensible to the last, sa described by Dr.
M'Intyre in poor Mrs, Falconer's case, and'
others I could name.
I have seen Professor Halford's remedy applied, and that in as startling a caso as could poBSibly be found. I allude to the case of Coutts, of Talbot wbo was under the care of Dr. Dowling, of tbat place.
Coutts waa bitten twice by one of the most deadly of our poison snakes-which snake waa full-grown, aa was proved by the measurement between the punctures made by the fangs as shown on Coutts's hand having, therefore, a double doss of poison in bis system. About the same time elapsed between being bitten and medical attend- ance se in the case of Mrs. Falconer. The man was quite insensible when the ammonia was injected, and be revived in a most mar- vellous manner, but the relapse waa much worse, as he was not only quite insensible, but large lumps were plainly visible on his throat from muscular contraction, and yet, on the ammonia being again injected, he, as it were, "in what appeared but a few seconds," started into life, and said, " I feel all right," and on my asking, bim if be felt anything particular about bim, he said I feel as if my toes were going tobuBt "burst"
Bnt in the interim of all this he waa sup- plied by the kind and enterprising chemist at Talbot with the most nourishing diet at short intervals, consisting of very strong beef tea, and ad interim a glass of brandy with egg broken np. And this was continued not only daring the evening bat through the night and next day, and yet notwithstanding all the nourishment he had received, the in- fluence of depression waa so gTeat that ho had great difficulty in shaking it off. And I felt satisfied at the time, and am still of the same opinion, that without 'the large amount of nourishment that had been administered to bim, Coutts's life would not have been worth 50 hours' purchase.
The effect produced in my mind on wit- nessing tbe injection of ammonia in Ooatts's case is as vivid as when I saw it, nor will it ever be effaced. Nor are the impressions made in other ways weakened, bat are much strengthened, iror I tio »ot tu_< tbat ali the ammonia in the world would save life in Bnake-bite, unsupported by continued supply of tbe most nourishing diet ; nor would the most nourishing diet have any effect without the aid of ammonia to counteract the action of the vims : but both used very generously would, I think, counteract the effect of the
most dangerous snake-bite in the colony. ,
I tiust, Sir, you will pardon my trespassing BO far on your space. Nor should I, but from full conviction of the very great value of
Professor Halford's remedy. Nor should I | like to see it stamped out, or in any way impeded, by the mistakes of a medical man or any one else, which must be my only apology for troubling you now.-I am, &c,