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Is Fasciotomy for You?

Dean Ripa's denunciation of the practice of fasciotomy in snakebite treatment marks the beginning of a movement against this ruinous practice, in his words, "an epidemic disease more damaging than most snakebites." Three versions of this paper exist, the first published in the Bull. Chicago Herp. in 1999. This enlarged text is reproduced from his electronic book, "The bushmasters (Genus Lachesis, Daudin 1803); Morphology in Evolution and Behavior" (2003 edition). More of Dean’s views on fasciotomy can be read in his interview, The First Ten Minutes (below). Carry this text with you into the medical room, it might be a matter of life and limb.


Six Deadly Snakebites

Dean Ripa's horrifying first hand accounts of four of his own bushmaster bites as of the year 1999, from a 2003 revision of his book on bushmasters, with descriptions of two other bites on American snake keepers. Includes a photo series of one of Dean's more recent bites by a juvenile South American bushmaster ( L. muta muta), not reported in the original text, with a brief description of the symptoms.


Ontogeny of the Bushmaster Shock Death in Human Beings

The surprising results of Dean's investigation into neonatal bushmaster venom show a strong increase of shock producing pharmacology vis-a-vis adults, suggesting that the venom of young bushmasters is more deadly drop per drop. Disputes previous studies of the lethality of these snakes. For a fuller understanding of what bushmaster venom does to the human victim, this paper should be read with Ripa's earlier papers, Six New Cases of bushmaster Envenoming (2000; 2003), and Is Fasciotomy for You? (2003).


Interview with Dean Ripa about his latest, near-fatal bushmaster bite

A spurious reenactment of these events can be seen in the tabloid television show, Fatal Attractions, appearing on the Animal Planet channel. The degree to which the producers have taken liberties with the truth in order to sensationalize the practice of snakekeeping and push the political (Animal Rights) agenda of their sponsors, can clearly be seen by comparing the aired product with this, their factual source. Through not-so skillful editing out-of-context, an absolutely erroneous narration, and the groundless commentary of a hired, in-house pundit claiming a familiarity with Dean Ripa he does not have, the producers fabricate controversy where none existed before these TV ambulance chaser's arrived. The result is sheer propaganda. As this article written two years earlier shows, the facts are more interesting than their fantasy. To cite: Mertens, R. 2009. The First Ten Minutes, in The Bushmaster (Genus Lachesis Daudin 1803); Silent Fate of the American Tropics. Cape Fear Serpentarium. Wilmington, NC.


Degenerated Science

Degenerated Science is the controversial book-length article published in the May 2000 issue of the Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society.  It deals with government misuse of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the "degenerated science" that makes such misuse possible.  Although the principal focus of the paper is North Carolina and the new rattlesnake "protection" regulations being proposed, it reveals an illness that reaches into all states, and the money making impetus behind it.  If "degenerated science" hasn't already happened in your state, it may soon be coming!

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