According to KIII-TV in South Texas, Jennifer Sutcliffe and her husband were out doing yard work near Corpus Christi when they spotted a four-foot rattlesnake on their property. She said her husband used a shovel to behead the snake, but when he went to dispose of it, it bit him.
As we read in a yarn from Elizabeth Palermo for Live Science, a rattlesnake's bite is a reflex the can occur even after its death.
After the snake released its venom, he experienced loss of vision, in addition to the bleeding and seizures, and had to be flown to hospital by helicopter.
Sutcliffe couldn't get her husband to the hospital fast enough, so she met up with an ambulance.
"There was actually three different times in the first 24 hours that the doctors told me that they didn't think he was going to make it", Jennifer said.
Because the head was severed from the body, the reptile is believed to have released an extremely large amount of deadly venom into her husband's hand.
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"A normal person who is going to get bit is going to get two to four doses of antivenom", Sutcliffe told the station. 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 to 12 people die", he said. "He got all of the snake's venom in the bite".
There seems to be some dispute about exactly how long a beheaded snake can remain active.
KIII-TV reports the victim had to get 26 doses of antivenom. A better option, experts say, is to call animal control to have the snake safely removed.
Sutcliffe's husband remained in stable condition after receiving doses of antivenin, but continued to have impaired kidney function as a result of the incident.