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February 17, 1984

Prolonged Defibrination After a Bite From a 'Nonvenomous' Snake

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Cable and Wingert) and Hematology (Dr McGehee), Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles; and the Department of Pharmacology, University of Arizona School of Medicine, Tucson (Dr Russell).

JAMA. 1984;251(7):925-926. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340310039016

The distinction between venomous, potentially dangerous snakes and snakes considered to be harmless to humans is not always clear. A man was bitten by an assumed harmless pet snake, Rhabdophis subminatus (the red neck keelback), that had been obtained from a pet store. The patient experienced a severe coagulopathy with life-threatening hemorrhage unresponsive to transfusion. Since this snake frequently is sold legally in the United States, we wish to alert the medical community to its potential danger and to discuss the pathophysiological mechanism by which the coagulopathy was produced.

(JAMA 1984;251:925-926)