What is the first priority in prehospital care?

Updated: Apr 09, 2021
  • Author: Spencer Greene, MD, MS, FACEP, FACMT, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

The first priority in prehospital care is scene safety. It is essential to prevent creating additional victims. There is no need to capture or transport the snake to the hospital. Even a recently killed snake can envenomate because bite reflexes may persist for several hours. Severe envenomation and death have resulted from bites from decapitated snakes. [18, 19] It is reasonable to obtain a photograph of the snake, but only if it can be done so safely and does not delay transport. Identifying the species of snake can be helpful if it expedites treatment, facilitates antivenom selection where relevant, or enables experts to tailor therapy.


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