Though rattlesnake bites are a legitimate threat in Southern Arizona, they are most often caused by people not taking the right precautions around these dangerous animals. Rattlesnake venom can be deadly, especially if a bite occurs in the neck or face, where airways can become obstructed due to swelling. One Coolidge man learned a valuable lesson about not getting too close to rattlesnakes when he was bitten in early September and spent several days in the hospital after that.
An unexpected party guest
Victor Pratt made an impromptu attempt to catch and cook a rattlesnake when one wandered into his yard during his child’s birthday party. He grabbed the snake and was posing for photos while holding the snake’s head.
A harsh backlash
Pratt’s party trick quickly got out of hand when he lost control of the snake’s head and was bitten twice. One bite was on the chest and the other on his face. With bites in these areas, immediate medical attention is necessary to not only administer antivenom but also to reestablish the airways for proper breathing.
A life-saving hospital trip
If it had not been for a previous brush with a rattlesnake, Pratt may not have known how important it was to get to the hospital right away. He had been bitten once before when he was 19, and he knew that the various recommendations for snake bite first aid—including sucking out the venom, applying ice, and making a tourniquet—are ineffective and possibly dangerous.