Hospital forming center to handle snake bites - KCTV5

Hospital forming center to handle snake bites

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

A lot of people will likely spend more time outdoors as the weather warms up and they could possibly cross paths with snakes.

This is the time of year when we see more of them in parks and neighborhoods, with their increased presence comes an increase in the number of snake bites. It's not uncommon for runners, bikers and those out playing to be bitten by snakes and it's become so frequent that one hospital is forming its own center to handle the bites.

Quintinne Dumford has seen his share of snakes along trails in Shawnee Mission Park during his daily jogs.

"It's difficult when you're running to try to look around and keep an eye out for snakes, but you kind of have to, that's kind of the nature of the beast," he said.

Dumford has never been bitten and said he's not too concerned about snake bites, but some in the medical community are. Dr. Stephen Thornton, a toxicologist with the University of Kansas Hospital, said snake bites are on the rise.

"We're seeing an increase in snake-human encounters. We're developing more land. People are out, they're camping and doing things," Thornton said.

Last year he said there were about 65 snake bites and just last month five people were treated for snake bites at the University of Kansas Hospital. Now administrators there have formed the snake bite center.

"We're basically trying to do this so that snake bite victims get the appropriate care, get aggressive care and have the best outcomes possible," Thornton said.

Two years ago KCTV5 spoke with one teenager who was bitten by a snake near his Lenexa, KS, home. He received initial treatment at a Lenexa hospital before being transferred to Children's Mercy, which had the necessary anti-venom.

We're seeing an increase in snake-human encounters. We're developing more land. People are out, they're camping and doing things.

Thornton said anti-venom is very expensive and a lot of smaller hospitals can't afford to stock it, which is why the center will open in July.

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