Lesson with bite

Australian Army medic Corporal Kristen Vilder and US Army medic Sergeant Michelle Parson train together on the treatment of venomous snake bites. Photo: Corporal Tristan Kennedy

Lesson with bite

Australia is known for its deadly snakes and, as United States soldiers on Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 discovered, North Queensland is no exception.

While discussing treatments, a combined Australian and United States health team came across a discrepancy in snakebite treatments between the two nations.

Corporal Kristin Vidler, a treatment team medical technician at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, said the discovery came after a discussion at the health facility.

“After talking to the Americans, we realised that our snakes and their snakes are different,” Corporal Vidler said.

“So the treatment is different.”

Corporal Vidler and her team gave a demonstration to the US team on how Australians treat snakebite victims.

“We obviously use the Pressure Immobilisation Technique, which we teach all our basic first aiders,” Corporal Vidler said.

“So, we just hooked up with their medics and ran through all that so that everyone is on the same page.”

Captain Sandra Leeson, a US physician assistant, said it was an invaluable lesson.

“The Australian medics have taught us the same snakebite course which they are taught in their basic training, here in Shoalwater Bay,” Captain Leeson said.

“We are then going to teach it to the United States soldiers in the unit that we are with as well.”


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