A young family travelling around Australia have been dealt a major scare following a snake bite in the middle of the night, one and a half hours away from the nearest hospital.
Nathan Helms had just taken a shower at a campsite in Karijini National Park, in Western Australia’s north, when he felt an excruciating pain in his foot.
His wife, Renee who runs their travel blog ‘The Great Escape Australia’, was inside their campervan putting their young son, Ryan, down to sleep when they heard the scream.
“I grabbed the torch and jumped outside but didn’t spot anything. Nathan had felt something move against his foot, felt a piercing bite on his big toe, and heard a creature move away from him into the scrub,” she revealed in a Facebook post.
They both knew the bite was likely from a snake, but without being able to identify it, they knew their next movements were pivotal.
“I told Nathan not to move and went to grab the first aid kit from the car… he knew not to move. And I knew that he’d likely have to be flown out to a bigger hospital,” she added.
After applying a double pressure bandage from his toe all the way up to his thigh, the family packed an emergency bag, buckled Ryan up and made a desperate dash to Tom Price Hospital.
Initial attempts from their phones, including their satellite phone, failed to reach triple-0.
Eventually, a call went through and the family was told to pull over with their hazard lights on and wait for the approaching ambulance.
Unable to rule out he had been bitten by a venomous snake, Nathan was forced to board a Royal Flying Doctor Service flight to Port Headland.
Following a nervous night’s sleep, Renee packed up for the campsite, solo for the first time ever, and headed to Port Headland with Ryan.
Meanwhile Nathan was given the all clear by doctors, meaning he was either bitten by a non-venomous snake or a venomous snake that did not envenomate.
“It’s been a very emotional and exhausting 24 hours. And I’m pretty glad Nathan is all good,” she wrote.
The family heaped praise on the volunteer ambulance workers, RFDS and staff at Tom Price Hospital.