Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar Honored by Chinese Researchers for Scorpion Sting Remedy

A young "rural doctor" from Konkan developed an algorithm to treat red scorpion stings in the most basic medical settings
If a person was stung by one of the world's most deadly red scorpions (Mesobuthus tamulus) in the village, they would not survive the night. (Representational image: Unsplash)
If a person was stung by one of the world's most deadly red scorpions (Mesobuthus tamulus) in the village, they would not survive the night. (Representational image: Unsplash)

Nearly 40 years after a young "rural doctor" from Konkan developed an algorithm to treat red scorpion stings in the most basic medical settings—which up until then were fatal—he continues to receive praise from the medical community.
This time, Chinese experts have praised Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar, 74, who runs a hospital in Mahad, which is around 170 miles from Mumbai.

A letter expressing gratitude to them was published in the most recent issue of "The Lancet," one of the most widely read medical journals, with the title "Reducing scorpion sting fatality rate to 1% in India." For his research on the anti-scorpion venom, Dr. Bawaskar was awarded the Padma Shri in 2022.

Researchers from Guizhou University's National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide in China observed that more than 40% of people died from scorpion stings in the 1970s. They reported that in the 1980s, if a person were stung by one of the world's most deadly red scorpions (Mesobuthus tamulus) in a village, they would not survive the night. Mahad and its surrounding areas are home to this scorpion.

For his research on the anti-scorpion venom, Dr. Bawaskar was awarded the Padma Shri in 2022. (Representational image: Unsplash)
For his research on the anti-scorpion venom, Dr. Bawaskar was awarded the Padma Shri in 2022. (Representational image: Unsplash)
If a person was stung by one of the world's most deadly red scorpions (Mesobuthus tamulus) in the village, they would not survive the night. (Representational image: Unsplash)
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"The majority of people who lived in Indian villages died from lethal scorpion stings because there was no appropriate medication accessible and doctors' knowledge of medicine was insufficient to treat scorpion sting patients. Dr. Himmatrao Bawaskar, a village-born physician, broke this convention, it stated.

In addition to developing a remedy for scorpion sting envenomation, it was said that Dr. Bawaskar traveled around rural India teaching medical professionals about it. According to the Lancet article, "his treatment approaches reduced the fatality rate from 40% in the 1970s to 1% in 2014."

Interestingly, in 1986, Dr. Bawaskar detailed his process of treatment in a Lancet article. This was a time when Western academics hardly ever published genuine Indian medical research. According to the Indian Academy of Pediatrics' standard treatment guidelines for 2022, he is the "unsung warrior and a living legend who first gave prazosin in the management of scorpion envenomation in rural Maharashtra."

A follow-up to a 2003 letter by Dr. Bawaskar on "India's forgotten children" appears in The Lancet after the Chinese letter. "Globally, not much has changed in the context of children's health since then," he wrote. He claimed that even with "remarkable reductions" in bacterial and viral illnesses, poverty and illiteracy remain widespread in rural areas, leading to sepsis and malnourishment.

(Input from various sources)

(Rehash/Priyanka Pandey/MSM)

If a person was stung by one of the world's most deadly red scorpions (Mesobuthus tamulus) in the village, they would not survive the night. (Representational image: Unsplash)
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