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July 6, 1984

Snake Venom Poisoning

Author Affiliations

Bryan, Tex

JAMA. 1984;252(1):105. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350010065031

It has been said that everyone knows how to build a fire, run a hotel, and coach a football team; "treat snakebite" could probably be added to that list. Everyone thinks he has the right answer. Those favoring surgical treatment view antivenin use as heretical at best, while proponents of antivenin use seem to believe that surgeons are remnants of an era that recommended bloodletting and other procedures now considered bizarre.

As a recent convert to antivenin therapy for snakebite, I anxiously read Russell's new book on the treatment of snake venom poisoning. He has attempted to write a general reference and treatment guide for physicians treating snakebite, and I believe that he has done a good job in fulfilling this goal.

Those merely seeking the "true path" for treatment of snakebite will find a large portion of the book's 500+ pages to be devoted to basic zoology and toxicology.