Health Minister: Scorpion stings don’t really kill

The original article can be found in: Trinidad Newsday By RICHARDSON DHALAI

DISCLOSING yesterday that hospitals do have anti-venoms to treat snake bites, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday that he has ordered an investigation into Friday’s death of two-year-old Faith Henry, of ChathamVillage, Cedros.

Khan said people do not usually die from scorpion stings and what might have occurred in Faith’s case, was an allergic reaction to the poison or injections that the child was given. On Thursday morning, Faith’s mother, Nadraka Henry, rushed her child to the Chatham Health Facility after she was stung at their Chatham Village home, by what relatives described as an unusually large scorpion.

Faith was given three injections but according to the child’s mother, Nadraka, her daughter had to wait an hour for an ambulance in order to transfer the child to the Point Fortin District Hospital. Faith, who had vomited profusely, was then rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), but died the following day on Friday morning.

Nadraka has said hospital nurses told her that only Sangre Grande and Princes Town district health facilities, have the antidote to treat scorpion stings.

In an interview yesterday, Khan said, “Scorpion stings don’t really kill you, but what tends to happen is that you get what they call an allergic response.

“If you have an allergic response, then problems can develop. I read in the papers that a lot of injections were given. It could be injections for allergy.”

Owing to the fact that the sting of a scorpion is less venomous than from the bites of poisonous snakes, only three of which are habitat in Trinidad, Khan admitted that specific antidotes for scorpion stings will not be stored at hospitals. The minister said, “Antidotes and anti-venoms will not be there (hospitals and health centres) like for scorpion stings, but they are really there for snake bites, so I’m looking into it.”

Khan said he has asked South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) chairman Dr Lackram Bodoe, to launch an investigation into Faith’s death. He said, “I would like to offer my condolences and I would look into everything that has occurred so that we could make sure that this never happens to anyone, but at the end of the day, it does not bring back the young one.

“I want to make sure that they understand the concern that the Ministry and the government have for our children.”

SWRHA’s chief executive officer, Anil Gosine, confirmed yesterday that an investigation into the tragic incident had been launched.

However, Gosine added based on a preliminary probe into what occurred, the necessary protocol standards were followed. Gosine said, “We have to go through a procedure but we are conducting an investigation into the incident, particularly the ‘wait times’ as well as the drugs that were administered.”

Yesterday, Faith’s father, Noel Charles, 38, said the family had not been contacted by anyone from either the Ministry of Health or SWRHA. He said, “Nobody contacted us; nobody came to see us, except the MP (Paula Gopee-Scoon) who sympathised with us.”

Charles and his wife, Nadraka, have four other children, ages six months to 12 years, and yesterday the father sobbed as he spoke about his daughter Faith. “But it is real tough. It is like I am still expecting to see her walk through the door. She was my eyeball,” Charles, who said he had not eaten food since Friday, said.

According to Merck’s Home Health manual posted online, scorpions stings are treated with drugs and other methods, that reduce symptoms and complications. It stated, “Prazosin, an alpha-adrenergic blocking drug, is sometimes used as Antivenins to specific scorpion venoms, but their effectiveness has not been proven.”

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