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Med J Aust. 1992 Dec 7-21;157(11-12):829-32.

Platypus envenomation--a painful learning experience.

Author information

1
Ambrose Medical Group, North Mackay, Qld.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe in detail for the first time, the clinical course and medical management of a significant human envenomation by the Australian platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus).

CLINICAL FEATURES:

A 57-year-old man was envenomated via two spur wounds to the right hand from each hind leg of a male platypus. Pain was immediate, sustained, and devastating; traditional first aid analgesic methods were ineffective.

INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME:

On admission to hospital, narcotics administered intravenously, both intermittently and by infusion, provided inadequate analgesia. A right wrist block was dramatically effective. After the blockade narcotic analgesic support was required for several days. The patient spent six days in hospital, and the envenomated area remained painful, swollen and with little movement for three weeks. Significant functional impairment of the hand persisted for three months, the cause of which is uncertain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Male platypus venom remains largely unstudied. It produces savage local pain and marked local swelling, but no apparent tissue ischaemia. No antivenom is available; in its absence the only effective analgesia appears to be regional nerve blockade, when the envenomation site and available skills permit. Immobilisation assists.

PMID:
1454022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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