Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Homepage

August 25, 2010

Snake-bit! Local woman bitten by moccasin

MINERAL WELLS — A Mineral Wells resident bitten by a water moccasin Monday morning, after being initially treated at Palo Pinto General Hospital, was sent to Fort Worth for emergency care.

According to sources, a woman in her early 60s was bitten by a snake shortly after 8:30 a.m. Monday in northeast Mineral Wells.

PPGH CEO Harris Brooks confirmed that a snake bite patient was treated with the antivenin Cro-Fab at PPGH Monday morning before being transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

This antivenin is used to counteract venom from water moccasins, copperheads, or rattlesnakes (all in the pit-viper family), and hospitals like PPGH carry enough to get someone started.

Dr. John Jones, medical director for the PPGH Emergency Department, said this was the worst snake bite reaction he has seen, but understands the patient is doing better.

According to Mineral Wells Fire Chief Robin Allen, EMS responded after the woman became ill after being struck by an unknown snake.

Jones said he understood a dog perhaps found the snake and was bitten first and the individual intervened before being bitten. He said the patient called 9-11 within minutes and was at PPGH in about 25 minutes.

This venomous snake bite is at least the second for the month in Palo Pinto County.

Earlier this month a young girl, almost 2, died after being bitten by a rattlesnake in the Caddo area of Possum Kingdom Lake on the evening of Aug. 10.

Despite these two Palo Pinto County cases, hospital officials have not seen a marked increase in the number of snake bites.

“The sheer numbers aren't up, but the severity seems to be up,” said Brooks.

Jones estimated PPGH has treated about eight to 10 snake bites for the year, which he said wasn't above average.

“This particular bite has been the worst for the year and the worse I've seen regarding complications,” he said, adding he believes Monday's snake-bite victim received a large amount of venom. He said he was also surprised by the short period of time the venom took to react.

Dr. David Smith, a trauma surgeon and medical director of the trauma program at Texas Health Fort Worth, said he has seen “quite a few bites – 10 early in the season, and since the end of June we've had two more.”

Smith said the worst so far for the year came from the Cottonmouth Water Moccasin bite. He said, in addition, THFW has seen bites from “multiple copperheads – more than rattlesnakes – and from three to four rattlesnakes.”

He said the copperhead bites tended to come closer to the water and the rattlesnake “can be found anywhere.”

“More than half [of the snake bites] were at night,” he said, adding that these are typically bites on the extremities – legs/feet and arms/hands.

Smith said he is familiar with the incident involving the toddler who died of a rattlesnake bite incurred at PK Lake. He said the child was struck in a vein on her lower extremities.

He said getting struck in a vein is similar to receiving an injection directly into a vein, versus an injection in a muscle. He said if struck in a vein the snake's venom “spreads rapidly through the system with each heartbeat.”

Regardless of where on the body it occurs, Smith and Jones warn that time matters when dealing with an injection of snake venom.

“Time is of the essence,” said Smith. “If you get struck, get to a hospital as soon as possible.” He added, the antivenin Cro-Fab, “is the only way to treat snake bites.”

“While we're not a large hospital that can support multi-system failure, we do have a starter dose of Cro-Fab antivenin to get the antivenin on-board, coursing through a patient's veins,” said Brooks.

He explained that a rattlesnake's venom prevents blood from being able to clot and can cause systems to fail. Brooks said getting treated with Cro-Fab right away “helps until we can get you to a tertiary hospital.”

“Certainly seeking attention immediate;y is important,” said Jones. “[Cro-Fab] is much more beneficial when it's indicated – in moderate to significant envenomation.”

Jones explained that they use clinical symptoms to determine whether Cro-Fab is indicated for a snake bite.

“The quicker we can give you the Cro-Fab, the better you will be,” Smith seemed to echo. “Thank goodness rural hospitals have doses on hand.”

He said that since most of THFW snake-bite cases come from west of the Metroplex, “with open areas that snakes like … most [THFW patients] come with the treatment already started – from Palo Pinto or Weatherford.”

Smith recommends getting in the car, preferably with someone else driving, to get to the nearest hospital and only as a last resort should the patient drive themselves to the hospital.

Jones adds, “If you get bit, seek attention immediately. Don't raise or lower [the extremity bitten], no ice, no heat, no tourniquet – just come on in to the hospital.”

Summer is the time for snakes and some county residents have reported seeing many more rattlesnakes this year than in years past.

“Know where you are putting your hands,” said Allen, who said MW Fire and EMS sees snakebites frequently from people reaching into shrubbery.

 “Use a rake or a stick. And don't think it's safe to handle a snake,” she added. “We see that sometimes and they don't know it's a venomous snake.”

Smith suggests that people working in the garden or around plants look before reaching under a bush, in a shady area or into a hole, since these are all areas snakes like.

“Snakes like to hide away from everybody – in dark, cool places under the house, in holes in the ground, in burrows and under bushes and rocks,” he said. “A lot of people get in trouble when they are gardening. Make sure you look where you are about to put your hands.”

But this also goes for ankles and feet. Smith said about half the snake bites this year have been to the lower extremities and many occurred at night – one in a pasture and another in a yard. The THFW trauma director suggests carrying a flashlight, look before walking and “do not go out at night in bare feet or sandals. This is Texas – wear your cowboy boots.”

Staff writer Libby Cluett can be reached at (940) 325-4465, ext. 3422, or lcluett@mineralwellsindex.com.

 

1
Text Only
News Toppers

Local News
Local Sports
  • Lady Rams draw Graham in first round playoff series

    The regular season is in the rearview mirror and, as head coach David Tarver expected, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams will play a best-of-three series with the Graham Lady Blues to start the Class 3A, Region 1 and 3 softball playoffs.

    April 24, 2014 1 Link

  • Rams Champs.JPG Champs!

    With the score tied at four and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tuesday night at Pratt Field, sophomore McCain Mason stepped up to bat with the bases loaded.

    April 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • 2014 Santo Regional golf pic.jpeg Santo girls place eighth at regional golf tourney

    BAIRD – The Santo Ladycats golf team ended their season on a positive note last week, battling the elements to play some of their best golf of the season en route to an eighth place finish at the Region 2-1A Tournament at Shady Oaks Golf Course in Baird.

     

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Graford Track: two 'Rabbits race to regionals

    TRENT – The Graford boys and girls track teams were in action, Thursday, at the area track meet in Trent, where two Jackrabbits qualified to advance to the regional round in two different events.

    April 23, 2014

Education
Online Only
  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 23, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Religion
  • WED BIBLE Lynn-Nikki-Phyllis.jpg Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club

    Lynn Waddy and Phyllis Lister hosted the April 9th meeting of the Wednesday Bible Study Club. The meeting was opened with prayer by Lynn. Nikki Murphy brought the lesson from Acts, Chapter 8.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rev. Holt.jpg Holy Week Schedule

    With Palm Sunday already over and Easter coming this Sunday, Mineral Wells Ministerial Alliance is taking advantage of Holy Week, the week between the two holidays, and spreading the good news as much as possible.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hallelujahs to Hisses

    I graduated from Baylor University in 1983.

    April 11, 2014

Must Read
Featured Ads
SmugMug


Click a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook
Weather Underground Radar
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Seasonal Content
Texas Amber Alerts
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide