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29 December 2011

Cobra bite sees Mikayla lose arm muscle and finger

MIKAYLA Robbertse, the preschooler who was bitten by a cobra just before Christmas, underwent surgery yesterday to remove muscle from her arm and will have more surgery over the coming weekend.

“It was worse than we had hoped,” her grandmother, Charmaine Robbertse, said yesterday after the five-year-old came out of surgery at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.

“They (doctors) had to remove muscle from her hand and her arm up to the elbow, they said the poison had eaten a tunnel through the muscle.”

Mikayla was bitten twice by a Mozambique spitting cobra 10 days ago on her grandparents’ Lephalale farm. Soon after she went to bed, her grandparents heard the little girl screaming and found the snake, which had bitten her on the hand and the elbow, in her bedroom.

Mikayla was initially treated at Lephalale State Hospital. She was then taken to Netcare Montana Hospital and transferred to the Steve Biko paediatric intensive care unit last Thursday as the family don’t belong to a medical aid.

Robbertse said Mikayla had received three units of blood and would need more surgery on Saturday to remove her middle finger. “They just could not save it.”

Mikayla’s grandparents have been at her bedside from early morning to late at night since she was admitted to hospital.

Robbertse said Mikayla was spoilt on Christmas Day with people bringing her gifts. “The people were being really kind, but we had to put a stop to visitors on Monday and Tuesday because she was exhausted.”

Mikayla was due to start Grade 0 next month but the snake bite will delay her first day.

“I am sure she will catch up quickly. She is a very intelligent little girl and already speaks three languages,” said Robbertse.

- The Star/IOL