Lake Elsinore toddler bitten by rattlesnake

March 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
March 1 was the beginning of snakebite season. Emergency rooms across the Southland are seeing more patients with snakebites. Doctors say the bites can cause serious wounds and, in some cases, even death.

Mark Laster said he's never seen a rattlesnake at his Lake Elsinore home until last Friday when he heard his 22-month-old son, Daniel, scream.

"A snake jumped out of the bushes and bit his hand," said Laster.

The 15-inch baby rattlesnake pierced Daniel's tiny right-hand ring finger with both fangs.

"I heard him cry, and I ran and grabbed him. The snake rattled at me and instantly I thought of old movies and sucked the poison out, that's all I could think of," said Laster.

Laster said his son's hand immediately started to swell, and the swelling spread quickly up his arm, through his shoulder, to his back and chest.

Daniel was treated by a snakebite specialist at Loma Linda University Medical Center and was given 22 vials of antivenom. The average snakebite requires only 12 to 14 vials.

Unfortunately, emergency room doctors said what happened to Daniel is not uncommon this time of year. That's why it's important to know how to react if you or your child is bitten.

"You don't want the extremity or wherever they're bit to be above or below the heart. You want it to be as neutral as possible. You don't want to use tourniquets. You don't want to cut it with anything. You just want to get medical attention as soon as possible," said Dr. John Simic with Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

As for sucking out the venom, doctors say don't do it. It doesn't work and it can actually make the situation worse.

Five days after the bite, Daniel is doing remarkably well. Doctors said the recovery period after a snake bite can take days, weeks or months.


Load Comments