Conversely, it was the low yield of antibodies from immunised horses that initially delayed the production of a death adder antivenene. While Thomas Eades had optimistically claimed in early 1929 that an antivenene for this species would be available the following year, (89) it did not become a reality until 1958.
While there have been no recorded fatalities from sea snake bites in Australian waters, the availability of a specific antivenene has almost certainly saved a number of lives, highlighted in 1979 when a two-year-old child was bitten by a sea snake at Yeppoon in central Queensland.
Yet strangely enough, while 45 Australians died from snakebite between 1951 and 1961, an equal number died between 1960 and 1969 despite the availability of specific antivenenes and, from 1962, a polyvalent antivenene.
As Sutherland explained, there have been instances where antivenene has been withheld despite clear evidence of envenomation, while in other cases the incorrect antivenene bas been administered--sometimes repeatedly--following mistaken identification of the offending reptile.
Federal police called for a coronial inquiry into Edmonds' death, while Cooma Hospital's critical care committee conducted a review of the institution's antivenene holding policy.