Hostages: Episode 8 Analysis 2/3 and Snake Bite Kits

This is part two of three in analyzing ONE episode of the CBS drama hostages. You can find the first part here.

Last post I blogged about why a paralyzing agent wouldn’t kill a person during surgery.

Now, let’s examine why Ellen’s treatment of the injected poison is suspect as well.

When we left him, our primary hostage taker had a needle full of the paralyzing agent stuck in his chest but only a small amount had been given. He was symptomatic as evidenced by some weakness.

The good doctor says, “We need to cut it out.”

She then proceeds to remove the syringe, slice open his chest in the area the needle was, and then thrust his entire body in ice water. 

This reminded me of a first aid kit I used to have that had a snake bite kit in it and it looked just like the photo. The green thread is supposed to function as a tourniquet to keep the poison from traveling. The ampule is iodine to clean the area. The blade is used to cut an “x” through the skin and the green plastic parts are to extract the poison. The rational behind this treatment was to get the poison out before it entered the bloodstream. I guess the rationale for thrusting the hostage taker in ice water is to slow his metabolism down to prevent the poison from traveling as well.

This method of poison extraction has been proven false. Poison or infectious type agents can rapidly enter the bloodstream and in fact, some have postulated that cutting the skin increases blood flow to the area and hastens absorption. As this article also explains that studies show the commercially available suction devices remove “virtually no venom”. 

This article also discussed icing the site– again the rational being slowing the metabolism will keep the venom from traveling but what can happen is that you get frostbite injury from the ice and it may concentrate the poison in one place causing more tissue damage.

What would have been more believable would have been to have him suffer the effects of the paralyzing agent and Ellen, the good doctor, needs to decide whether or not to resuscitate him. That would have been more more dramatic.

Clear here for more information on the current treatment methods for treating snake bites.  


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