Sleeping in a hut on his farm is a norm for Gregory Winston of Canaries who succumbed to a snakebite last week while spending a night on his farm.
Fifty-six-year-old Winston earned his livelihood by rearing pigs in the Canaries Hills. On Thursday, he and his girlfriend, Lucy were asleep in his hut on the farm when he woke up about 2 a.m. to a stinging sensation in his left arm.
Winston’s niece, Diana Pierre told Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) today (May 19) that it took him a few hours after the attack before he got help. There is no telephone service on the hill top. With the support of his girlfriend, Winston walked through clumps of bushes to get assistance from villagers. An ambulance was called to transport him to the Victoria Hospital.
Pierre recalled Winston’s girlfriend saying that he felt like his arm was “broken”, and by the time he reached at the hospital the colour of his skin had turned black and blue. Winston was later advised by doctors that they would need to amputate his arm. He disagreed and opted for surgery to remove the venom from the snakebite instead. However, SNO was told doctors warned that Winston could have a 50/50 chance of survival with surgery.
Subsequent to the surgery, he complained about severe pain in his arm. He was taken to the Intensive Care Unit where he passed away. Pierre said there was allegedly no anti-venom insulin to treat her uncle.
Winston usually left his home to spend a few days up in the hills. Pierre said he had complained to relatives of a snake infestation on the farm, after spotting a few of them, which he had attempted to kill at times.
Pierre noted that he has already been warned not to return to the hills, after he barely survived a similar attack last year. She said he had been hospitalised for two weeks after the first snake attack. But despite warnings, Winston was persistent to return to his farm and continue his work as this was his only means of income for him and his family.
Pierre indicated that Winston had presumed there was a rattle snake inside the hut, as he told relatives about waking up to a hissing sound one night while there.
Apart from his pig rearing business, Winston had a small kitchen garden in the hills.
Winston has left behind four children – one boy and three girls.