A DARLINGTON man grieving over the death of his son from snake bite, has launched a national petition to have all ambulances carry anti-venom.
Stephen Leishman, who had to make the agonising decision for life-support to be switched off on 26-year-old Ashley, hopes to lobby all state and federal politicians.
He aims to present his petition “Get Antivenom into Australian Ambulances” on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra early next year.
The campaign will be conducted through Facebook, an internet site and hand-written petition forms circulated around the nation.
Mr Leishman has also called for a coronial inquiry into the circumstances of the fatal bite by an eastern brown snake on a farming property in western Queensland on October 8.
Ashley died two days later in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital and some of his vital organs — liver, lungs, kidneys and corneas were donated for transplant operations.
“If we can save one life through having antivenom carried in ambulances I think I will have done my bit and Ashley’s death won’t be in vain,” Mr Leishman told The Standard yesterday.
Ambulance Victoria’s manager for Barwon South West Mick Cameron said antivenom was not carried by Victorian ambulances because there were other effective ways to treat snake bite prior to a patient getting to hospital.
“Snakebite can be effectively managed by using the pressure immobilisation bandage method.
“That is, if you put a fairly tight bandage the full length of the limb and keep the patient absolutely still, they can lie there without showing effect for many hours,” he said.
Ashley lived in Darlington in 1998 and attended Warrnambool Special Development School which teaches students with intellectual disabilities.
He returned to Queensland to live with his mother before moving back to Darlington in 2008 where he lived until April when he moved north to Queensland to live with his fiancée and her grandfather.
During his time in the south-west he was a goal umpire with the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League reserves competition where his brothers Adrian and Sean and their father also umpired.
“Ashley was a fun-loving lad who will be missed by a lot of people,” his father said.
“I remember getting the call from the hospital saying he wasn’t going to survive the bite, then myself and the two other boys drove 20 hours to Brisbane. His mother had gone there earlier.”
Ashley’s birthday on November 7 will be marked by a tree-planting in the family garden at Darlington.