Girl, 11, rushed to hospital as organs 'shut down' after snake bite in UK nature reserve

A young girl was left with her organs failing after being bitten by an adder during a day out at a UK nature reserve.

Sam Lythgo, 41, took her family to Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve on Sunday where there was a children’s adder trail and youngsters could win a prize by finding pictures of the UK’s only venomous snake. To their surprise they spotted one of the slithering menaces so Sam’s daughter Lil, 11, crouched to get a closer look.

The reptile suddenly lashed out and bit the schoolgirl’s hand. Concerned, Sam rushed her to Colchester General Hospital. By the time they arrived the youngster’s chest had begun to swell as a result of the venom and was violently sick in the A&E until doctors managed to track down anti-venom.

In the wake of the incident, mum Sam told the Mirror : “It was just horrific. I couldn’t believe it.

girl, 11, rushed to hospital as organs 'shut down' after snake bite in uk nature reserve

Lil

girl, 11, rushed to hospital as organs 'shut down' after snake bite in uk nature reserve

Lil

“We went to the nature reserve where they had an adder trail where you found pictures and got a prize. We knew there might be adders but there was nothing to say how dangerous they were.

“My 11-year-old saw one and got down to look and it bit her. She cried, it was horrible. It started to swell up and we took her straight to hospital. When we got to A&E she was being violently sick. Within 20 minutes her organs were shutting down and you could see the venom tracking up her arm. They couldn’t find her pulse at one point and they gave her adrenaline.

“They got her some anti-venom and 20 minutes later she said ‘I feel better’. It was only an hour from when she was bitten, it was insane.”

girl, 11, rushed to hospital as organs 'shut down' after snake bite in uk nature reserve

Adder

Lil, who wants to be a vet when she gets older, felt well enough to go home a couple of days later. Now her mum wants to raise awareness of the dangers of snake bites to stop others from going through the trauma.

Sam added: “If I had taken her home I don’t know if she would be here now. I don’t want another parent to go through what we have. The hospital had one anti-venom available, they said they were going to have training for if it happened again. I cannot fault the hospital. They were amazing with her, they were brilliant.

“She’s always wanted a snake as a pet. She doesn’t now.”

A spokesperson from Essex Wildlife Trust told the Mirror: “Fingringhoe Wick Nature Discovery Centre has a clear sign at the entrance to our centre and on our website about adders, including information about taking caution and what to do if bitten. In this instance, the family also spoke to staff ahead of their walk where they stated they were looking for adders and were advised to remain on the path and to keep their distance from adders.

"As advised on the signage, anyone bitten by an adder should call an ambulance immediately, which was the advice the family received when they returned to the centre following the incident. Our team at Fingringhoe contacted Lily’s mother, Samantha, later that day and the following morning out of concern and we were very pleased to hear she was recovering well the following day. Going forward, the Trust will be introducing additional signage on the nature reserve to remind the public of the presence of adders and to ensure that people keep their distance if they spot one.

"Adders are shy creatures that will generally avoid people. However, they are venomous and will bite if they feel threatened, so we ask every person to take clear precautions when walking through any natural spaces during spring and summer. Dress appropriately with closed sensible shoes, stick to guided paths and keep a respectful distance from wildlife at all times.

"It is important to note that adders are not just on nature reserves, and people may see adders or other snake species in gardens and other local green spaces. We encourage people to admire these snakes from afar and give them the distance they need to keep yourself and wildlife safe.”

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