Hadassah staff saves seven-year-old from deadly scorpion sting

Child arrives in critical condition to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus where staff administer serum saving his life.

Mordechai Sones ,

Elisha Alush (C)
Elisha Alush (C)
Hadassa Hospital Spokesman

The intensity of his cry alerted Elisha Alush's parents that something serious had happened to their seven year old. He ran in from the backyard of their home near Jericho, north of Jerusalem screaming, "My foot, my foot." And then he lost consciousness.

The paramedics rushed him to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, an hour away.

“When he arrived, Elisha was in critical condition,” said Dr. Tamar Kuperman, Emergency Medicine Physician at Hadassah Mount Scopus. “He was on a respirator. His blood pressure was high and unstable. The symptoms were characteristic of poison, but we didn't know from the redness what had stung him. We guessed scorpion."

Because Mount Scopus is close to the Judean Desert, the ER staff sees more cases of scorpion stings than many centers, says Dr. David Rekhtman, head of the Mount Scopus pediatric emergency room. "It could have been a scorpion or a black widow spider. If the latter, we would have had to bring in the anti-toxin by helicopter, but we have the antidote for scorpion poison on stock at Hadassah Mount Scopus. We see at least three cases every season.”

“Elisha is an even-tempered child,” said his father, Doron Alush. “His reaction made me suspect a sting, so we called an ambulance right away.” Because they live in a rural area, to save time, Elisha’s mother, Merav, drove out of their farming area to meet the ambulance on the highway. By then, Elisha’s leg was swelling and he was slipping in and out of consciousness. ."Her instincts were right about the need for quick treatment. Because of everyone's quick reaction and our relative proximity, we could treat Elisha in the 'golden hour.' If he hadn't come, he would have died, G-d forbid," said Dr. Rekhtman.

Dr. Kuperman and Hadassah Pediatrician Dr. Daniel Bancovsky were waiting for Elisha at the entrance to the Emergency Room. He needed to be transferred immediately to intensive care. Intensifist Dr. Charlotte Glieksman managed to stabilize the boy. “Fortunately the poison hadn't reached Elisha's heart," but he was in bad shape. “Within a day we had Elisha off the respirator while continuing to provide treatment. The poison didn't reach his heart and thanks to effective treatment and a good reaction to the anti-toxin serum, Elisha was released to his home in excellent shape after only two days in the hospital.”

Professor Yackov Berkun, Director of Pediatrics at Hadassah Mount Scopus, said, “I'm very proud of our staff at Hadassah. They cooperated fully with the paramedics. The Emergency Room physicians and Pediatric Intensive Care physicians worked together to provide the best care for this child. Their ability to cooperate and work professionally together brought about these great results for Elisha.”

Yellow scorpions are deadlier than black scorpions, but black scorpions may be deadly to children. Medical authorities should be consulted in any case.

Scorpion anatomy
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