Jon E. Soskis
I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stetson University in 1971, taught biology for six months at Hillsborough Community College in 1972, became certified as an E.M.T. by Tallahassee Community College in 1973, and earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida State University in 1974. I then practiced thirty years of stubbornly pushing the standards in the Emergency Department at Tallahassee Memorial, a seven hundred and seventy-one bed regional hospital, beginning in 1974. I “retired” in 2004 to replace our burned down home in Gadsden County, Florida, and to enjoy volunteering in our local, impoverished middle school.
Shortly after I began to practice nursing I attended an in-service on snakebite at Tallahassee Memorial, presented by our long-time snakebite consultant, Charles Watt, M.D., of South Georgia Surgical Associates in Thomasville, Georgia. One of the first things Dr. Watt said one should do with a patient suffering from a bite by a pit viper is to draw a large clot tube. It wasn’t clear to me why, and I wondered for an embarrassing period of time why a clot tube would be needed. I asked everyone local, including the laboratory staff, but no one knew. That was the beginning of a long and rewarding journey of learning about snakebite, one which continues today through the publishing of this text.
The last time I wrote “about the author” my wonderful children were ages six and ten. Now they’re twenty-four and twenty-seven, and still wonderful! How time does fly. When they were younger they watched me co-author with Tallahassee Memorial and self-publish for medical personnel Snakebite Assessment and Treatment in the Eastern United States in our living room in the wilderness of north Florida. That was a time when the only antivenom for North American pit vipers was Antivenin (Crotalidae) Polyvalent, Wyeth, a less than pure product using production methods from the early 1950’s. The lack of purity too often resulted in an allergic response, which sometimes stopped treatment of the envenomation. The second work, A Complete Guide to Snakebite Care, followed in 2001 as the more pure antivenom, Crotalidae Polyvalent Immune Fab (Ovine), or CroFab®, came onto the scene. Since then there has been a lot of thinking about what to do with the desire to author a more comprehensive text, one that would help medical personnel to better understand all of the intricacies of snakebite. This third, current text pulls the first two works together, retaining the hands-on practicality of each while helping the reader to more deeply develop the art of assessment and treatment.
As an R.N. I was fortunate to be encouraged by our hospital’s administration, physicians and by my peers to specialize, to publish, and to follow and consult on many snakebite cases over the years. Now, at age sixty-three and retired, an occasional call still trickles in. It’s always rewarding to hear the interest at the other end of the line as the learning occurs, wonderful learning that I know will help to keep our patients safe.
Enjoy, and let me know if I may help you.