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January 1969

Problems in the Management of Rattlesnake Bites

Author Affiliations

Silver Spring, Md
From Emergency Health Services, Public Health Service, Silver Spring, Md. Dr. Sparger was formerly Chief of Surgery and Thoracic Surgery, Public Health Service Hospital, Gallup, NM.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(1):13-18. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340070031003

With increased recognition throughout the country of the need for improved emergency care and the need for all people to recognize when emergency care is needed, it is then to be expected that an enlightened routine for the management of rattlesnake bites from the time of the bite until the patient is discharged from the hospital should continue to be promulgated. Credit is given to those who have worked untiringly in the past in this regard. Based on the case histories that follow, it is apparent that there is still need for teaching the public that snakes are dangerous; and in fact, not only that they are dangerous, but that once a person has been bitten, a dire emergency exists.1,2

Rattlesnakes are still quite prevalent in certain areas of the country—particularly in the Southwest. With a high percentage of the Navajos still being herdsmen, it is not surprising

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