Speak Out: Sawyer Venom Extractor
Experts are all over the board on the use of the extractor. What are your thoughts on the extractor? When should it be used or not used.
23 opinions on this subject.
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Chris_Harper on 2005-02-15
Ever measured the fangs of a two foot copperhead? They're only around 1/8th of an inch. The fangs of a coral snake are about 5mm, maybe?
York Morgan said that after his coral snake bite, the first liquid that was expressed from the wound was transparent, followed by blood. Poke your finger with a lancet or needle and see if any "transparent" liquid emerges. It won't. What does this observation indicate?
DKT on 2005-02-13
While I agree that the use of such a device would be a waste of precious time when dealing with snake bites I think they might be of use in more shallow introductions of toxins such as scorpion stings, blackwidow bites and the like.
sceniccityreptiles on 2005-02-09
I am familiar with research claiming the extractor does not remove venom, but to say the extractor never works would be grossly inaccurate. There are certainly occasions when venom would be trapped beneath the skin and would be removed by the negative pressure. The extractor will certainly “hold” venom in place and one must bear that in mind when making the decision to use it. Is the added necrosis worth the possible benefit? In my opinion, location of the bite and venom type are the deciding factors. If I am bitten by a snake known to be neurotoxic, such as a coral snake, I will by all means apply the extractor. If I am bitten by a snake known to be hemotoxic, (Cotton mouth) I will apply the extractor only if the bite location is in such as area that the added necrosis will not out weigh the possible benefit. If bitten in the mass areas of the arm or leg, necrosis can successfully treated in most cases, however, added necrosis in the hand or foot could lead to an amputation. I would not use the extractor below the wriest or ankle, however, I would use it on the arm or leg. I recently took a bite in the forearm from a 40” northern copper. I had the extractor on within a minute and had the compression wrap on immediately following that. This first aide was successful and no anti-venom was needed.
DougW on 2005-02-09
"Time is tissue" is basically a catch phrase. Anti-venom stops toxins not digestive enzymes. It can sometimes slow the extent of the damage but even with antivenom your going to have necrosis. Simply put anti-venom does not stop necrosis, but may localise it. I personally used the extractor once on a neonate copperhead bite the cup filled once with serosanguinous fluid, a bleb however did form to the shape of the cup and turned black and eventually scabbed off. No deformity, No impeded movement, No worries.
Chris_Harper on 2005-02-08
While I largely agree with Dr. Bush's assessment of the Extractor, I do think that there are applications that are overlooked. Shallow envenomations by shortfanged neurotoxic species aren't discussed for instance. I don't see how there could be an increase in local necrosis from these species when they don't cause necrosis to begin with. I can tell you that if I am bitten by my coral snake, I'll be milking and sucking that wound to beat the band.
oldsnakeman on 2005-02-08
this procedure has , at least to my knowledge, been "bad medicine" for so long that i didnt even know what this topic was all about. i had never even heard of this device. i like to think im not that much out of the loop but when i see an ad or product like this i just go right over it. all of these types of devices seem to be is a reassurance for those who dont understand what to do in case of a bite. i remember back in the 50's "admiring" my cutter snakebite kit. it was a standard boy scout issue. if this served to keep a person calm then that would be its only benefit. its pretty hard to reason with "non snake people" even if they havent been bitten. i was in the er at local hospital when an "old timer" came in a "poisonous " snake bite. he could not be convinced that his slicing was not the right thing to do. but for me personally this is a non issue.
Rabies on 2005-02-08
Its definately been proven that the extractor does not remove venom, and with certain sp of snake can increase local necrosis. It would however be interesting to see if applied immediately after a bite with predominant neurotoxic affects, on whether it drasticaly slows or with holds venom obsorbtion, giving time to apply a pressure bandage, especialy when the victim is alone.
emtnurse on 2005-02-07
If anyone has watched the video on Crofab that Dr. Bush has done, then I agree not to use them. Dr. Bush makes the statement that time is tissue and these extractors usually add insult to injury. Why place a suction device on an area that will have swelling and necrosis? It appears to me, that this would just add damage to the already damaged area. Just my 2 cents. Bryan
ALA_herp31 on 2005-02-05
I tend to agree with Dr. Sean Bush on this as well. It has been proven that the extractor only sucks blood. What good dose this do you? Think of it this way, it also could concentrate the Venom into one spot by holding it there with the suction. In this case it would very well cause bad Necrosis & other bad damage as well. In my opinion the extractor is no good, best thing to do is get to the Hospital or ER, fast as possible.............Be safe, Wally
KingCobraFan on 2005-02-04
I certainly trust Dr. Bush's opinion.
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