Snake bite claims local man's life
HE will forever be remembered as the larger than life guy who was always willing to help a mate, but the tragic death of Andrew Smith will also serve as a reminder to steer clear of snakes and the danger they pose.
The 35-year-old's life was cut short last Thursday after he went to help his neighbours remove a snake from their garage on Grant Place.
The deadly brown snake bit Andrew on the hand before he killed it just prior to 8pm and his long-term partner Heidi drove him to the hospital within 10 minutes.
Staff at the hospital immediately started treatment, testing for venom and administering anti-venom. Andrew had taken the dead snake with him to help them in their treatment.
While Andrew was in good spirits throughout the whole ordeal, unfortunately the poison passed extremely quickly through his system and he died at about 8.45pm.
Andrew's sister Fiona Busst and sister-in-law Annette Smith said the hospital staff did everything in their power to help save their much loved family member.
"There has been a bit of a rumour that he was waiting up to an hour-and-a-half to be seen at
the hospital. We have got nothing but praise and admiration for everything the staff at the Emerald Hospital did for Andrew," Fiona said.
"They were just as shocked as we were when he died because he was having a bit of a laugh and a joke with them before they started CPR. We cannot fault them and like anything there is a risk - he may have had an allergic reaction to the anti-venom."
Fiona said the tragic circumstances served as a "good lesson for everyone" when it came to dealing with snakes and removing them from homes and properties.
"You've really got to take care," she said.
The most important thing in Andrew's life was his friends and family, Annette said, and that he was always there to lend a hand no matter the circumstances.
"He was the glue that kept us all together. We will all remember Andrew as the most loving, caring and amazing human being that would help anyone... there were no boundaries," Annette said.
"Andrew loved a chat, he always kept in contact with all his mates and family no matter where they were."
The Emerald local had overcome some pretty big hurdles in the past and was very proud he was able to start a successful building enterprise, ADS Constructions, with Heidi.
"He had so many dreams and ambitions and we are so proud of what he achieved," Annette said.
"He was such a fighter and he really did live life to the full. He was a very fit guy and helped out every single person because that's just the type of person he was."
Andrew's death was a sudden and tragic event but his family are finding comfort knowing his case will be included in the Australian Snakebite Project, a study into the effects of snake and spider venom on the human body.
"His death is going to help other people in the future," Annette said.
A memorial service will be held for Andrew at the Harvest Life Christian Church, 9-13 Gladstone Street, Emerald, on Friday November 25 at 1.30pm. The family invite all family and friends to attend.
"We have been overwhelmed by the number of people offering us support and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them. It has made a terrible situation easier to cope with," Annette said.
With more snakes coming out of the woodworks each day as summer approaches, Andrew's life is the second to be claimed this month by the deadly reptiles.
Nurse Narelle Pails, 42, of Warwick in southern Queensland, died on November 2 after she too was bitten by a snake in her backyard.
Her 15-year-old son called emergency services at 4.50pm and Mrs Pails was given anti-venom at the Warwick Hospital before she died at 7.05pm.
The mother-of-two was described as the family's rock, a very strong person and always very welcoming and friendly.