The morning of the day I entrained to Delhi, we had a very young man being wheeled in. He was already dead and cold. Bitten by a snake the previous night, he was being managed using black-magic (jhad phook). Sometime early morning, the family realized that it may be better to give a try with the doctors. He reached the nearest district hospital only to realize that there were only a total of 2 vials of Anti-Snake Venom in town. PD, who had come few days back was from the same district - he could manage 5 ASVs.
Even PD had accessed a witch-doctor before reaching the district hospital and later NJH. The worst part was that when PD was on the ventilator, the relatives had arranged for a local witch-doctor to come into the Acute Care Unit in the garb of a relative and perform witch-craft. I had the opportunity to witness the tamasha. Unfortunately, it did not cross my mind about taking a snap.
Later, after I had started off to Delhi, we got one more patient with a snake bite. He also had spent time with the 'jhad phook'. He is on the ventilator. We hope that he'll do well.
It is unfortunate that even after quite a lot of awareness among the community about the success rates that patients with snake bites have with NJH, most of them do not turn up to the hospital fast. Of course, the dependency on the occult is not only limited to snake bites. Hope you remember that MD, the patient with post-partum eclampsia had also come after a session with the witch-doctor.
I'm looking at the possibility of printing pamphlets about prevention and management of snake bites in the community. Please do send suggestions . . .