‘It is hard to see your son die in front of you’: Mother’s heartbreak as son dies after being bitten by tiger snake and inquiry questions the way bite victims are treated
- The mother of a young man who was poisoned by a tiger snake has spoken out
- Shane Tatti, 27, was gardening when he was attacked by a 1.5 metre tiger snake
- He was given a antivenom dose but still had venom in his system at time of death
A coronial inquest into the death of a young man who was killed by a tiger snake has cast doubt upon the current treatment of snake bites in Australia.
Shane Tatti, a 27-year-old country boy and hunter, was gardening at the banks of the Snowy River in Victoria when he was attacked by the 1.5 metre long reptile in 2014.
And four years on, new information suggests he may have experienced a different fate if he had been administered a second dose of antivenom.
Up until this point, medical research had pointed to the necessity to give patients suffering from snake bites a single dose of the carefully curated medicine.
Shane Tatti, a 27-year-old country boy and hunter, was gardening at the banks of the Snowy River in Victoria when he was attacked by the 1.5 metre long reptile in 2014
The snake latched onto his right wrist and bit him multiple times, leading to paralysis, lock jaw and double vision
But Mr Tatti’s death raised questions about the correct dosage of antivenom after some of the snakes poison was found to still be active in his system at the time of death.
Some toxicologists, including Associate Professor Mark Little, a clinical toxicologist at Cairns Hospital, argued that a second dose of the anti-venom may have changed the course of Mr Tatti’s final moments.
‘Whilst it is likely that for many patients envenomed [poisoned] by a snake in Australia, one ampoule may be enough, this case would suggest that a higher initial dose (possibly two ampoules) might be required for tiger snake envenomings,’ he said.
A coronial inquest found that at the time of Mr Tatti’s death, another toxicologist believed the risk of administering a second dose was worth taking, as he was likely to die without it.
He claimed the venom from the snake bite had spread through Mr Tatti’s body too quickly.
But it has raised the debate as to whether health departments across the country should review their current standard practice in response to snake bites.
Mr Tatti’s death raised questions about the correct dosage of antivenom after some of the snakes poison was found to still be active in his system
Toxicologists, as well as Coroner Caitlin English, have called for further research into dosages and the possibility of making the treatment more flexible on a case by case basis.
Mr Tatti’s mother accepts the coronial inquests findings, but still says living without her son feels as though she is living with a huge hole in her life.
‘It is hard to see your son die in front of you,’ his mother, Susan Tatti told Sydney Morning Herald.
‘It was just a big shock. I’ve lived [in Victoria’s eastern Gippsland area] all my life and have only ever heard of one girl getting chased by a snake years ago.’
The snake latched onto his right wrist and bit him multiple times, leading to paralysis, lock jaw and double vision.
He was rushed to hospital and administered a dose of antivenin, but died as a result of his injuries.
Shane Tatti was an avid hunter and a through-and-through country boy who was weeding a garden at the time of his death