Man saved by snakebite antidote he helped prepare

Tomer Becker was bitten by a snake while milking its poison last week.

snake bite 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
snake bite 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A 31-year-old man who works in the country's only lab for "milking" poison from vipers for treating snakebite victims was himself bitten by one of his snakes last week and saved at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot with antidote made at the lab. The victim, Tomer Becker, started screaming when he was bitten by the snake while doing the milking, as he has done for many years. It was the first time in memory when a worker was bitten by a snake in the lab. "Usually, we save others, but this time we saved him," said a colleague. When Becker arrived at Kaplan's emergency room, a medical team headed by Dr. Ella Hassin started working on him. He vomited, had abdominal pain, and his blood pressure went dangerously low. Soon, the palm of the bitten hand became severely swollen, causing the doctors to fear that the swelling could spread throughout his body. He was rushed to the respiratory and surgical intensive care unit, given the antibodies produced by his own lab - and his condition gradually began to stabilize. By nightfall, Becker was moved to the hand surgery department, headed by Dr. Avraham Hass, due to swelling in his arm and the whole right side of his body. An urgent operation to prevent the constriction of all the arteries in his arm was performed. He had entered the operating theater unable to move any of his fingers, but at the operation's end, he could slightly bend them. Thus they were sure his arm was saved, Hass said. Becker will soon undergo rehabilitation for his hand.