Doctors in Australia have urged snakebite victims to stop bringing dangerous animals to hospital for identification. Especially in the tropical region of Queensland, hospital staff are often confronted with some of the most venomous snakes in the world that have been caught by patients, the Australian broadcaster ABC reported, citing doctors. They mistakenly believed that this could help with treatment.

In one particularly drastic case, staff at Bundaberg Hospital north of Brisbane were given a clear plastic storage container earlier this month containing an eastern brown snake, one of the most venomous land snakes in the world. The reptile was barely secured and the employees were very afraid, the broadcaster quoted Adam Michael, the director of emergency medicine at the clinic. This significantly delayed the patient’s treatment. In addition, people exposed themselves to unnecessary risks when they tried to capture the animals.

Not only is bringing snakes into a hospital dangerous, but hospital staff are generally unable to identify snakes, Michael emphasized. Doctors could use clinical signs, blood tests and snake venom detection kits to determine whether antivenom is needed and, if so, which one.

In Australia, where many poisonous snakes live, an average of 3,000 people are bitten by a snake every year. However, according to researchers, only 100 to 200 of them require an antitoxin. Fatal snake bites are rare – but just in March, a 47-year-old died while trying to remove an eastern brown snake from a kindergarten. The man was bitten several times on his left arm – but didn’t know whether it was a poisonous snake. Instead of calling an ambulance, the man drove home. A short time later, cardiac arrest occurred.