Young boy bitten twice by rattlesnake

March 24, 2008 9:12:05 PM PDT
A three-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was bitten by a rattlesnake -- twice -- while out on the beach with family.A family's spring break outing at a beach near San Luis Pass took a frightening turn and nearly cost Caleb Brock his life.

Jennifer Brock, Caleb's mother, said, "Right now he's sedated, which is good, because he doesn't know how much pain he's in."

On Wednesday afternoon Caleb and his siblings had just left the playground for the beach, unaware that a rattlesnake was lurking at the edge of the grass just a few feet away.

"As Caleb was running he probably startled the snake and didn't hear the rattle warning," Jennifer said.

The snake bit Caleb twice, its fangs puncturing the shin on one leg and his calf on the other.

"He was petrified," Jennifer recalled. "He was terrified. He ran to his aunt who was close by, climbed up on her, and couldn't talk for a minute. She was asking him questions. That's when he yelled snake."

The three-year-old was taken by helicopter to UTMB. In addition to administering anti-venom, doctors performed surgery on his calves to relieve pressure from the swelling.

Dr. J. Chad Davis explained, "Since that he has shown improvement in every regard. He has stabilized physically. His labs have either improved or stabilized."

While park rangers say rattlesnake bites are rare, sightings are not uncommon, especially this time of year. Signs are posted warning visitors to use caution. It's a message Caleb's mother wants every parent to hear as her son fights to get well.

"He's a tough fighter," she said. "He has that personality of being fierce and feisty. So I know he is going to come out just fine."

There are two types of venomous snakes found in Texas. First are pit vipers. These are the most common and include the copperhead, cottonmouth and rattlesnake. The second type of venomous snake is the coral snake.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, on average, one to two people in Texas die each year from venomous snake bites.

If someone is bitten by a venomous snake, seek medical attention immediately. But, it's what not to do that's also important. Never suck venom from the bite wound. Do not apply a tourniquet or other constricting device, or a cold pack or ice.

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