Corpus Christi man bitten by severed rattlesnake head

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- A Corpus Christi man is recovering after he was bitten by a rattlesnake, even after the snake had already been beheaded.

It happened the weekend of May 27 at a home near Lake Corpus Christi.

Jennifer Sutcliffe and her husband were doing weekend yard work when she spotted a four-foot rattlesnake. She said her husband quickly took his shovel and severed the snake's head, but moments later when he bent down to dispose of the snake, the snake's head bit him.

"In that case, since there is no body, it released all its venom into him," Sutcliffe told KIII-TV.

Sutcliffe called 911 and began driving her husband to the hospital. He began having seizures, lost his vision and experienced internal bleeding.

Sutcliffe met up with an ambulance and her husband was ultimately air-lifted to a hospital.

She said the first 24 hours were the worst. Doctors told Sutcliffe her husband might not make it, even after giving him vast amounts of anti-venom.

"A normal person who is going to get bit is going to get two to four doses," Sutcliffe said. "He had to have 26 doses."


Sutcliffe's husband is now in stable condition, but his kidney function is still weak. Trauma surgeon Michael Halpert said although dying from a snake bite is rare, it happens.

"There are about 6,000 to 8,000 snake bites per year in the country, and 10-12 people die," Halpert said.

If someone near you is bitten, get medical help immediately.

"You just want to keep the victim calm, keep the bitten area above the level of the heart slightly, and get the patient to the nearest emergency room," Halpert advised.