Snake Bites Man, Man Bites Wife So They Can Die Together, Wife Survives

A man in India who was attacked by a poisonous snake bit his wife's wrist because his final wish was for them to die together.

Shankar Rai was asleep in his home in Samastipur district, around 60 miles north of Patna in the state of Bihar, when he was attacked by the serpent.

By the morning, his condition had worsened. Fearing he did not have much time left, he held his wife Amiri Devi's hands and said he wanted them to be united in death.

A snake handler holds up a venomous Indian baby cobra near Bhubaneswar on June 21, 2011 in this illustrative image. A man in India’s Bihar state bit his wife in the wrist after he was bitten by a venomous snake. ASIT KUMAR/AFP/Getty Images

He sunk his teeth into her wrist so the venom would kill them both and they fell unconscious, India Today reported.

Witnesses described how doctors arrived and rushed them to hospital. Although the venom claimed the life of Rai, his wife was rescued in time.

"He told me he loved me too much and want to die together before grabbing my wrist and sinking his teeth into it. I allowed him to do so," she said, according to the publication.

A local doctor said: "The woman could be saved as her treatment began on time. She is safe now."

The World Health Organization says that more than two-thirds of fatal snake bites occur in South Asia.

India's latest National Health Profile, published in 2018, recorded around 1,000 deaths in the country in 2017, the Deccan Herald reported. Around 90% of snakebites are caused by the so-called serpentine "big four": the common krait, Indian cobra, Russell's viper and saw-scaled viper.

A recent study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recommended the Indian government set up regional venom collection centers.

Ravikar Ralph, associate professor of internal medicine from Christian Medical College in Vellore and author of the report, said that between 70 to 80% of the snake bite victims in India die before they can get to a medical treatment center.

Ralph pointed out that the one venom collection center in the state Tamil Nadu was inadequate as venoms from the same species differed from place to place.

"The primary healthcare center must not only be stocked with antivenoms, the staff must be trained to administer and manage the adverse effects of the antivenoms," Ralph said according to the Hindustan Times.