The two nuns from the missionary hospital and myself had travelled the whole day visiting villages meeting snake bite victims. At the end of the day we reached the periphery of Pithora District that was hemmed from three sides by mixed deciduous variety of trees. The sun was quickly disappearing behind tall trees as we reached Samaroh Bariha’s village. Samaroh was not home and the fast receding rays made us jittery as the area was naxal riddled and cut off from the main road.
Samaroh Bariha lives in a beautiful village called Jambhar, in the Pithora district. He is a local healer for regular ailments. He is 55years old and a daily wage laborer. He earns a daily wage of Rs 100. However he is able to find work far apart. He lives with thirteen others in a house constructed of bricks and mud surrounded by animal pens housing cows, goats, parakeets and dogs. The village is nestled in the Janhar forest.
It was a Sunday and Samaroh was working in the brick kiln. While moving bricks, a Spectacled Cobra which was hiding in between the bricks latched on hard to the index finger of his left hand. Samaroh yanked the snake free with his right hand. He had severe local area envenomation with neurotoxic signs from an elapid snake bite. The bite incident occurred at 11am and he reached Anjali Health Centre by 12.30pm. He was in the hospital for eight days.
We met Samaroh after one month of the bite. His finger had developed severe necrosis. Samaroh applies honey on the affected area. We tried persuading him to visit Anjali Health Centre to dress the wound and then approach a Government hospital to amputate the finger. While he nodded, I was sure he would not come for treatment.
Samaroh was given 10 vials of Anti-venom (ASV) along with other supporting drugs. Once he was relieved from the hospital, he did not return to dress the wound. This has led to severe gangrene on his finger.
Written by Priyanka Kadam