A little boy is left without his mum and soon-to-be sibling after poison from a snake bite killed a heavily pregnant woman in Meekathurra, WA.
‘Loving mum’ Sinita Martin – Nita to her friends – was just weeks off giving birth to her second child when the snake struck outside her home. Her unborn baby also died.
The tragedy has left a family in mourning and acts as a stark reminder of just how important it is to be snake aware.
Lethal snake bite kills mum and bub
Sinita Martin, 27, was preparing for the birth of her second baby, due in April. She and her three-year-old son had recently moved to Meekatharra, WA to be closer to her mum, Evelyn.
Sinita, 31 weeks pregnant, was outside her family’s home on Main Street when the snake bit. St. John Ambulance received a call around 8.15pm with reports of a woman in her 20s “having a fit” after being bitten by something. When they arrived at the house at 8.45pm, Sinita had gone into cardiac arrest.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics and doctors at Meekathurra Hospital, neither Sinita nor her unborn baby survived. Both died in hospital.
Bite suspected to be from Western Brown Snake
Although the identity of the snake hasn’t been confirmed, it is suspected Sinita was bitten by a western brown snake. The brown snake is one of the most venomous snakes in Australia.
According to Dr Bryan Fry, Associate Professor for the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, “The brown snakes are the only Australian snakes that regularly kill people in under an hour. They have an usually fast acting venom which is what makes them so dangerous.
From when people start feeling the effects to the time of death it can be as short as a few minutes.”
Snake bite warning for pregnant mums
Dr Fry also mentioned that pregnancy could have played a role in Sinita’s rapid decline.
“Pregnant women already have low blood pressure to begin with. They’re already a couple of steps towards the danger zone just by virtue of being pregnant.”
What to do if you or your child gets bitten by a snake
Snake spottings are common across Australia. But snake bites that result in deaths are still relatively rare. Even so, all families should be aware of what to do in the event of a snake bite.
Please see our Snake Bite Guidelines for the step-by-step plan for staying snake safe.