Snake Bite Leaves Teen Girl With 'Black Stick' Leg, Broken Elbow From Severe Necrosis

Snake bite leaves girl with 'black stick' leg and broken elbow
A 13-year-old girl is in between life and death after a horrific snake bite left her with a “black stick” leg due to severe necrosis. TomoNews US

A young girl in Caracas, Venezuela, lies in a hospital bed caught between life and death after a snake bite caused her leg muscle cells to wither away and die. The 13-year-old girl, who is unidentified, was first treated by remedies from her indigenous culture before being transferred to Venezuela’s capital city for emergency medical treatment a month later. It was there that doctors diagnosed the teen with severe necrosis, induced by the snake venom, with a grim prognosis of death — even after a leg amputation.

According to a photo posted on Instagram by the username “juventudmedica,” the young girl received medical treatment after a month of using something similar to antibiotics. The rural treatment she received most likely only is able to treat local infection secondary to the bite. The Instagram description written by Dr. Moreno Castillo, a surgeon specializing in trauma and orthopedics in the Central University of Venezuela and the University Hospital of Caracas, acknowledged the patient also suffered a broken elbow from the incident with the snake.

Dr. Arun Ghosh, a private GP in Liverpool told the Daily Mail: “Snake venom is very complicated and depends on the species of snake. But the picture shows clearly severe tissue necrosis that will need amputation. The whole lower leg is black. It’s spreading up. Looking at the rest of her body, she’s showing signs of muscle wastage from the poison. Her other leg is thin. It's likely she will still die.”

The teen’s necrosis — the premature death of cells — has shriveled and blackened her leg as it rots away. According to Medline Plus, this condition leads to an insufficient amount of blood flow to the tissue and is irreversible. This leaves the patient at a high risk for death despite an amputation due to the nature of the poison.

The teen is also battling rhabdomyolysis and compartment syndrome. In rhabdomyolysis, the muscle tissue will begin to die throughout the body, while compartment syndrome causes a decrease to the blood supply of the affected muscles. Even an anti-venom treatment which is used to stop the blood clotting, will not be enough to save the girl from the deterioration of her muscles.

In the U.S., only bites from the brown recluse spider can progress to necrosis.

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