Yesterday we told of the case of Gilbert Usher also known as Snake Man who was bitten by a Fer del Lance snake, commonly referred to in Belize as a Tommy Goff. We were in error when we told you that he was on life support when in fact, he was in an induced medical coma. Tonight Usher is listed as stable at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and is responding to the doctors and nurses although up to news time he wasn’t fully conscious. While Usher is in the hospital recovering from a second such incident, we spoke with his friend, Floyd Herbert who was the one who took Usher to meet the ambulance on the Maskall Road. Herbert was also with Usher when the incident unfolded.
“When the ambulance got here it was about 12. We were at my workshop where I was making some walking sticks. He passed by and shouted for my friend telling him that he had something to show him. I didn’t know that it was a snake he would bring. My friend told him not to come close if it was a snake that he had. He insisted on bringing a bag and he opened it. When he opened the bag he pushed his left hand in there and he took out the snake which was a Tommy Goff and he took it out and put the bag on the table. The snake was trying to wiggle out his hand but he tried to hold the snake’s head with his right hand and when he put his hand near the head that is when the snake bit him on his right hand. He didn’t get jumpy or anything all he did was took out a piece of string from his pocket and he told me to tie his hand tightly. About a minute after that he told me that he felt dizzy so he grabbed a chair and he sat down and the last thing he asked me is if I could take him to the hospital. I told him yes after that I just saw him faint backward and fell unconscious and that was it. No he wasn’t swollen, just about ten minutes afterward his hand got blue and that sort of thing. When I was taking him to meet the ambulance he started to vomit blood and some green stuff. We met the ambulance almost near the Boom junction.”
“So you had already called an ambulance?”
“Yes my sister had already called an ambulance.”
According to Herbert, having these snakes as pets is one way that Usher makes his living as it is some sort of an attraction to the tourists who visit the Altun Ha ruin in Lucky Strike Village, Belize District.
“Well he has the snakes at a different location from where he lives. He lives through the other old Rock Stone Pond Road but he has a friend by the name of Calvin Gillharry, he does carving also and since the tourists pass near here he just brings out his snakes and he makes them take pictures. He has at least about 6 different kinds of snakes. This morning I had one of the biggest boas, he had one about seven feet long and I had it and they were taking pictures of it. He had some other ones in a barrel. I’ve known him for a very long time and the only thing I know him to deal with is snakes, that’s all does. That is how he makes his little income.”
Back in 2008, Usher was bitten by a Tommy Goff but had recovered after Internist Doctor Jorge Hidalgo had injected him with anti-venom. In that incident, Usher was in a medical coma for seventy two hours.