Michael Dawson snake bite retrieval

RFDS responds to an urgent call for anti venom after man gets bitten by tiger snake

Date published

01 Mar 2022

An early morning spent clearing branches in the long grass of a small Northcliffe paddock led to unexplained nausea, a headache and coordination issues for Michael Dawson.

Michael Dawson with dog

As his symptoms worsened, Michael’s wife suggested he go back to the house to rest.

Arriving back at the house, Michael noticed two bite marks on his lower left leg.  He calmly e turned to his wife and said, ‘I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I think I’ve been bitten by something.’

Michael and his wife drove straight to Northcliffe Nursing Post where the nurse confirmed a snake bite. Michael’s leg was quickly wrapped in a compression bandage and an ambulance was called to take him to Manjimup Hospital.

Michael Dawson with wife

Under the care of the hospital team, the RFDS was called on to urgently fly anti-venom to Manjimup for Michael’s emergency treatment.

Snake bite venom can spread quickly throughout the body and are always given the highest priority by the RFDS.

The RFDS landed with its precious delivery for Michael, who began to recover quickly. 

The medical team decided Michael should be transferred to Royal Perth Hospital for further monitoring and was flown to Perth by the RFDS.

It was later discovered a tiger snake was responsible for the bite – one of the deadliest snakes in the world.

Michael Dawson

Michael is grateful for all services involved during his care and recovery.

“I commend all the health professionals for the excellent care provided," Michael said.

“Those of us who’ve lived in country areas really know and appreciate the service provided by the RFDS." 

Every year RFDS responds to about 78 snake bites across Western Australia. Thank you for helping us respond to these urgent missions.