A local snake catcher, Clive Jones (53), was admitted to the ICU at Mediclinic Tzaneen after suffering a snake bite from a deadly Black Mamba.
The incident occurred on Thursday evening, the 18th of June, at their home in Lushof at approximately 18:30. According to his fiancé, Martie De Bruto (48) Clive had assisted a resident in Aqua Park on Monday morning after receiving a call about a snake in their yard which they wanted removed.
“Clive captured the snake and placed it in a pillowcase as he always does,” explained Martie. “At home, he placed the pillowcase in a large bin with the intention of releasing the snake later that day. But we had to get to the eye specialist in town for an examination after our assault last week during which Clive’s retina was damaged and so we left the snake in the bin and off we went.”
On the evening in question, the couple decided to make a fire as Martie’s father was visiting the couple and it would be nice to sit at the fire and have a chat. Martie’s dad mentioned the snake in the bin which Clive had completely forgotten about during the course of the hectic week.
“Clive took the pillowcase out of the bin with the snake still inside it and started walking off to the bush to release it. In the motion, the pillowcase scraped against his leg and the snake struck. He bit him right through the pillowcase and through his jeans!”
The moment it happened, Clive turned to Martie and said “I’ve just been bitten by a mamba. I have less than half an hour to get to the hospital.”
Martie grabbed her keys and they chased as fast as they could to the Emergency Room situated at Mediclinic Tzaneen. During the twenty minutes it took them to get there, Clive had apparently started getting drowsy and Martie kept him propped up so that he would not fall asleep.
“At the hospital he walked into the ER with me and the nursing staff and doctors immediately tended to him, he was placed on a gurney and a drip was inserted. He was then wheeled off to the hospital ICU. The nursing sister who kept me updated said that his conditioned worsened during the evening and he started violent pulling out all the drips and monitors, not knowing where he was. They restrained him and he is still in ICU at Mediclinic Tzaneen.”
When Bulletin spoke to Martie the following morning in Tzaneen, she was in a most terrible state. “We do not have medical aid and the hospital has said that we need to pay the bill before this afternoon, or at least a large portion of it, or they will have to move Clive to the state hospital, Van Velden.”
Bulletin spoke to Marlize Delport, doctor patient relations manager at Mediclinic Tzaneen who has confirmed that this is the case.
On Saturday morning, 20th of June, Clive Jones opened his eyes and was stable once more. “I am so very relieved! The doctor told me that he was stabilizing and his condition improving. They had taken him off the ventilator and he opened his eyes,” said a very relieved De Bruto. “He is still in Mediclinic as well which to me is a blessing.”
This is the same couple who were viciously assaulted two weeks ago in Tzaneen CBD after a motor vehicle accident with a delivery motorbike. To read that story, click on this link.
Close to lunchtime on Saturday that same morning Bulletin received the news that Clive had been discharged and was going home. Martie was elated at the news, but though her partner was now safely back at home where the drama had initially started, a new drama now awaits.
“We thank every single person for the emotional support through the last few days, you carried us through. We do however have a bit of difficult time ahead given the hospital bill which we now will need to settle. But, God is good and he saved my Clive, I know He will make a way through this as well.”
If there is anyone in the community who could help raise funds towards settling the hospital bill, please contact Clive’s daughter Nicole Jones on 063 293 4843 or Martie De Bruto on 083 634 1548.
To the left is a video that was filmed by Martie on the evening that Clive was wheeled into the Emergency Room at Mediclinic Tzaneen. In the video you will notice the effects of the venom from the Mamba’s bite take hold roughly 20 minutes after the strike.
Black Mambas are fast, nervous, lethally venomous, and when threatened, highly aggressive. They have been blamed for numerous human deaths, and African myths exaggerate their capabilities to legendary proportions. For these reasons, the black mamba is widely considered the world’s deadliest snake.