Local resident physicians gained hands-on experience treating venomous snake and reptile bites from John Ball Zoo experts.  
“Venom Day” offered the opportunity for resident physicians at Corewell Health/Michigan State University College of Human Medicine to go through simulated training and learning from Zoo staff and Dr. Brian Lewis, a medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician.
“Venom Day was a great opportunity for John Ball Zoo and local resident physicians to work together and help ensure those exposed to venomous animals will have the best care possible if they are bitten,” said Tessa Dugas, curator with John Ball Zoo. “Venom Day is one example of how we are committed to educating our community about wildlife and wild places.”
The residents heard a presentation from Lewis, followed by simulated training of Bushmaster and Eastern Massasauga bites, two venomous snake species, and a bite simulation of a venomous lizard called a Gila monster. Attendees learned about how Zoo staff handles venomous animals and the response needed to treat bite incidents.
Only one venomous snake — the Eastern Massasauga — is native to Michigan, but John Ball Zoo staff may be exposed to additional venomous animals, depending on which animals are under the Zoo’s care. Though bite incidents are incredibly rare for John Ball Zoo staff, the event gave attendees insight on a factor of medical care that can be overlooked based on species living in Michigan.
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