Monday, August 10, 2015


Muskan, this little 8 year old girl in the snap appears all set to break into a dance if some music is put on. As one of my colleagues put it, smiles like this one can really take the stress off a very very busy day.

There is more reason for Muskan to put so much of a smile. Muskan came to us more than a fortnight back after having been bitten by a chameleon in her aunt's house where she had gone for a visit. The problem was that after the chameleon bite, she started to feel very weird.

She had a funny feeling in her throat and she found it difficult to open her eyes.

Her father was a sensible man and brought her to the 'bite hospital' which is us. My colleague received her in emergency and she told him that she was bitten by a girgit – that's the word for a chameleon.

Dr. Ao did not feel that things were okay. He called for a second opinion and while I was repeatedly asking her if she was quite positive that the culprit creature was a girgit, it was very obvious that the ptosis was worsening.

I told my suspicion of a cobra bite to the relatives. They wanted to know about the costs involved and was reluctant to give Anti-Snake Venom. To buy time, I told them that I'll start off with a small dose and see how things progress. However, as our staff got the ASV ready, she went into a respiratory arrest and we had to put her on mechanical ventilation.

Muskan immediately after the intubation. I got the snap to use later if there were medicolegal issues. Notice the bite mark with black surrounding skin. Incidentally, when I photographed here on one of the review days, she was wearing the same dress which she wore the day she got bitten. 
Things became easy for us. Very soon, she was receiving treatment for cobra bite. 

With the ASV, atropine and neostigmine, she was conscious, breathing on her own and talking after 3-4 hours. I again asked her about the animal that bit her – girgit was the answer.

By now, her bite site had swollen up quite a bit and it was obvious that it was a cobra bite.

The next day, Muskan narrated on how she had turned to take some rotis which was kept on a window sill and as she turned after taking the food, she saw a chameleon sitting beside the plate of rotis, which lunged at her and bit her on the upper part of her right arm. That narration was difficult to believe as chameleons are quite timid creatures and they run for their lives when they see someone.

However, Muskan was the first of our two patients who misidentified the animal that bit them.

About our second patient, in the next post. And I can assure you that it is hilarious. 


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