Grand Strand locals help save North Carolina man from venomous snake bite

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 7:08 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Fire Department presented Dr. Jarratt Lark with a Civilian Life Saving Award for helping to save the life of a North Carolina man after he was bit by a Gaboon Viper.

Gaboon Vipers are native to Africa and one of the most venomous snakes in the world.

Emergency medicine physician at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center Dr. Jarratt Lark and Myrtle Beach Fire department paramedic Thad Bowman received a call in the middle of the night months ago that a young man from Wilmington, N.C. had been bitten.

Both Lark and Bowman have prior experience and extensive knowledge about venomous animals and anti-venom medication.

“We’ve dealt with exotic bites in the past, but nothing to this extent,” said Bowman.

Bowman also works part-time at Alligator Adventure Animal Park in North Myrtle Beach and had access to anti-venom medication.

“They needed some advice from people who had experience taking care of exotic snake bites,” said Lark. “Fortunately, they were able to get ahold of both Thad and I. So that’s when we started interacting and being part of the treatment team.”

The treatment to save the young man’s life included giving him 44 vials of anti-venom medication over the course of a week, the most that Lark had ever administrated to a patient, ultimately leading to the man’s survival.

“He’s truly a miracle to be alive and to be as functional as he is,” said Lark.

The patient spent months in the hospital recovering and going through physical therapy and made a full recovery.

“I actually spoke to his mother the other day,” said Bowman. “His mother stays in contact with Dr. Lark and I both, and he’s back to working two jobs. He did lose a couple of fingers from the venom, but he’s back to living a normal life.”

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department presented a Civilian Life Saving award to Lark for his actions that helped to save the North Carolina man’s life.

“The successful treatment of these patients is award enough for me,” said Lark. “Being able to practice my passion is very fulfilling. To be recognized and receive an award for that is very humbling, and I feel like I accept this award as part of a team and share the recognition.”

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