Jimy

Hi, Aleph,
yes, I have used the electrotherapy on snakebites, scorpion stings, paraponerid ants, catfish stings. My experience has been that it immediately reduces the pain, and although I normally used it in conjunction with antivenin I would always use it if for no other reason than for pain relief. My experiences are strictly anecdotal. At one point I supplied about a dozen Waorani villages with the modified stun guns and they reported that bite victims insisted on its use. Unfortunately, the high tropical humidity has taken its toll on the devices and I can't get more to them.

One anecdote - I was standing next to a boy of 8 years when he got stung by a poisonous catfish in the crook of his arm. He was writhing and screaming in pain. I zapped the sting and within seconds he stopped crying, smiled and said "dae" - 'it is gone'. I have used it on myself at least half a dozen times for poisonous insect stings; the ant stings used to be excruciating for several hours, but with the shock, it is gone in seconds.

The Waorani have a horrific rate of snakebite and death from snakebite. [ cf 1981 Snake venom antibodies in Ecuadorian Indians. With R.D.G. Theakston, H.A. Reid, J.W. Larrick and J. Kaplan. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vol. 84, pp. 199-202] I only wish I had had the stun guns while I was living there to train more people in their use and to ensure that every village has access to them. The official policy of the mission hospital there now is not to allow anyone to use antivenin in the field (concerns over anaphylaxis), so their use becomes even more important, especially since many villages are days from hospital care.

The studies that say electrotherapy is not efficacious notwithstanding, I think the matter needs serious, unbiased investigation. The studies that have concluded negatively are missing a critical variable somewhere and as a consequence people are suffering, maybe even dying due to the entrenched bias that has developed.

In my travels to the rainforest I used to always carry antivenin (and used it a lot for people who were bitten)along with the stun gun. Now I am not allowed to even possess antivenin, so you can be sure I will always carry the stun gun.

Jim