Paramedics from Reaction Unit South Africa attend to an 18-year-old pregnant woman who had been bitten by a black mamba in Verulam.

Durban -

Paramedics helping a pregnant woman who was bitten by a 2m-long black mamba in Verulam on Wednesday battled to find a hospital able to treat her.

Reaction Unit South Africa paramedics responded to an emergency call 40 minutes after the 18-year-old was bitten because her family had struggled to find a phone.

The paramedics found the woman who is five months pregnant lying on the ground and frothing at the mouth, spokesman Prem Balram said.

They then battled to find a hospital that would treat her or that had the anti-venom.

While en route to the first hospital they called ahead. “The hospital said we could not come there because they did not carry the anti-venom.”

The unit’s operations centre had meanwhile sent out a BlackBerry broadcast message asking if anyone knew which hospitals had the anti-venom.

“I was blown away and overwhelmed by the number of replies I got; people from all over the country were willing to help, I got over 100 phone calls and over 200 messages,” said Balram.

They were refused treatment at the next hospital “even through we knew they were able to”. They eventually admitted her to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital.

There was no update on her condition at the time of publication.

The Mercury