Alive Is the Man Who Sucks out Snake Venom from Bitten Victims
He saves the life of woman/man bitten by a snake
I met this man, with other farmers, when I was conducting a survey on farmholds. They invited me to a native wine drinking party to which I obliged because I knew it was a way for them to gauge if I cared about their social milieu. With a few rounds of drinking using one glass, the camaraderie was becoming lively. I noticed this man with a hearty laugh. I said in Filipino language: "If you don't mind brother, may I know why you have only a few front teeth?" He said most of his front teeth were gone in widening the wound punctured by fangs of snake on legs of fellow farmers. He would suck the venom out through the wound. And the victim would live.
How come you don't get poisoned? I asked. He replied he did not know why.
Back home I did literature research on venom. If it does not get into the blood venom would not cause poisoning (Andrews, J. 1990. Poisonous Creatures). "If you drank snake venom, it wouldn't hurt you. The worst thing you'd feel would be tingling in your lips," wrote Andrews.
A man with snake venom in his blood sweats, his visions turns blurred and faints. His brain stops receiving and sending messages. He becomes paralyzed that he cannot run away.. Venom makes the flow of blood very fast. The victim cannot breathe when his lungs becomes filled with poisoned blood. Then the venom start digesting the inside organs of the victim.
When I met the snake venom sucker again I told him my findings, especially that part that venom poisons one only when it gets to his blood. I said he should not suck venom when his gums have wounds that serve as opening for venom to enter into his blood.
He told me more of his techniques he had developed on his own. Knowing that venom could kill a man in a short time, he applied a tourniquet in the leg or arm that had been bitten to stop or at least slow the flow of blood. He also widened the wound pricked by the fangs. Sometimes he could see a bulge in an artery due to the venom and could see the movement of the bulge. He applied pressure on the artery to s top blood flow towards the heart and quickly sucked out blood and venom. He could see and feel the bulge move back as he sucked more blood. He sucked a lot of blood to ensure that all the venom had been taken out. That was mostly guesswork guided by the condition of the snake bite victim. If the victim laid prostrate he would continue sucking out more blood.
He always ensured that a bottle of native wine (called tuba fermented from coconut sap) is in one corner of his hot. He needed tuba to wash away blood and venom from his mouth. He said he knew his life was always at stake when he sucked out venom. He did not know about venom being ineffective if it did not get into his blood up until that time I told him.
This man makes a living out of snake venom sucking. The first time he sucked venom he was forced to do it because he wanted to save the life of a friend who was bitten by a snake. He was willing to sacrifice his own life for his friend. His reputation of sucking out venom and saving the life of one bitten by a snake spread. In their place he is the only one who can do it.
I think if I would be called upon to suck snake venom from a woman or man bitten by a snake, I would oblige with confidence derived from the experience of this man who had done it.
New entries as of August 23,2012
It just occurred to me that there must be another way to suck out venom without directly placing your mouth on the wound. This can be done on an emergency when a hospital is far away or a medical aid is impracticable for immediate application.
A transparent plastic tube with a diameter of about 2 cm may be used like a siphon. It must be at least 1 ft long. The sucked out blood with the venom is made to accumulate in the plastic tube without making the fluid get into the mouth. This device can make the sucker confident, affording no risk of poisoning himself/herself.