The scientist who documented his own death by snake bite

In 1957, herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt was working at the Chicago Natural History Museum and agreed to take a look at a snake brought in by the Lincoln Park Zoo. 

He immediately identified the snake as the highly venemous boomslang, and picked it up for closer examination. 

As he did, the reptile darted out and bit him on his left thumb, leaving two three-millimeter deep bloody puncture wounds. Instead of seeking further medical attention, he turned to his journal, and began recording the effects the venom was having on him:

"4:30 - 5:30 PM strong nausea but without vomiting. During a trip to Homewood went on a suburban train.

5:30 - 6:30 PM strong chill and shaking followed by fever of 101.7. Bleeding of mucus membranes in the mouth began about 5:30, apparently mostly from gums.

8:30 PM ate two pieces of milk toast.

9:00 to 12:20 A.M. slept well. Urination at 12:20 AM mostly blood but a small amount. Took a glass of water at 4:30 AM, followed by violent nausea and vomiting, the contents of the stomach being the undigested supper. Felt much better and slept until 6:30 AM."

After waking, Schmidt continued on with his morning as usual. He ate breakfast and continued recording his medical reactions to the venom in his journal — a curious scientist up until the very end.

“September 26. 6:30 AM Temperature 98.2. Ate cereal and poached eggs on toast and apple sauce and coffee for breakfast. No urine with an ounce or so of blood about every three hours. Mouth and nose continuing to bleed, not excessively.”

“Excessively” was the last word Schmidt entered in his diary. At about 1:30 p.m., he vomited and called his wife. By the time help arrived, he was unresponsive, covered in sweat, unable to talk. By 3 p.m. Schmidt was pronounced dead from “respiration paralysis.”

Some believe Schmidt's death was a case of curiosity killing the scientist. Others, however, note that, being an expert herpetologist, Schmidt would have known that boomslang antivenom was available only in Africa.  Video