Zookeeper back to work today-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
CEBU City zookeeper Ronaldo Aventurado was discharged yesterday from the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) where he recuperated after a cobra bit him last week.
He wants the King Cobra that bit him to remain at the Cebu City Zoo as an added attraction, and he will take care of it. The cobra is kept in an enclosed glass in the zoo.
Aventurado said he will report for duty today at the Cebu City Zoo, after the doctors gave him clearance to work.
However, he was advised to continue to take antibiotics for the snake bite and to return to CCMC next week for a check-up.
In a press conference with the doctors and nurses of CCMC prior to his release at 5 p.m., Aventurado recalled how the king cobra bit him when he caught the snake.
“I kept the cobra from entering the zoo and grabbed it, but its neck was flexible and it bit my left hand,” Aventurado said.
The zookeeper disclosed he became enervated a few minutes after he was bitten by the snake and could no longer speak.
Aventurado was rushed to CCMC and was assessed by Drs. Vincent Matthew Roble II and Ross Villero.
The doctors said the zookeeper needed anti-venom.
CCMC Chief Gloria Duterte said since they didn’t have anti-venom vials, they contacted the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang but could not reach them that day.
She said CCMC nurse Debbie Fuentes told her that Camiguin General Hospital had anti-venom when she worked with the hospital.
Duterte then asked Fuentes to call the hospital’s chief, and found out that Camiguin Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo had bought the anti-venom.
She said they asked Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to ask Romualdo for the anti-venom, and with the help of Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, fourth district), former Cebu City
councilor Jack Jakosalem, and the late Capt. Jessup Bahinting, the owner of Aviatours, the four anti-venom vials arrived on time.
Duterte said they are happy Aventurado was saved, but expressed grief upon learning that Bahinting died in a plane crash last Saturday.
Aventurado was thankful to the CCMC doctors and nurses for treating him but also mourned the death of Bahinting.
Duterte cautioned snake bite victims to never incise the wounds, never suck the venom, and never put vinegar with garlic in the wound because it might cause infection.
She advised snake bite victims to wash the wounds with soap and avoid movement to delay the absorption of the venom. In applying a tourniquet, it shouldn’t be too tight that it may hamper blood circulation, and the patient must be brought to the nearest hospital.
The CCMC chief disclosed they received 12 anti-venom vials from RITM and 15 vials from the Department of Health 7 last week.
Duterte said they will replenish the four anti-venom vials they got from Camiguin and will give six more vials “because they need it more than us.”
The remaining 17 anti-venom vials, Duterte said, will be preserved at the hospital for emergency use.
She considered the case of Aventurado as an isolated incident because in her 32 years of service at the CCMC, the zookeeper was the first cobra bite victim she encountered.
However, the City Government’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) said the snakebite incident is an “eye opener.”
DVMF Chief Dr. Alice Utlang said the incident calls for the need to fully train all the workers of the zoo in the proper handling of animals.
Utlang said there are some 12 workers at the zoo including zoo manager Giovanni Romarate.
Had Aventurado been properly trained, he would have not been bitten by a King Cobra, Utlang said.
In the press conference, Aventurado said the incident won’t stop him from catching snakes again, but he will be more careful this time.
“That’s my job. I’ve caught close to 200 snakes since 2010, but this is the first time I got bitten,” Aventurado said in Cebuano.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2012.