A father of two nearly died after being bitten by the severed head of a rattlesnake.
Jeremy Sutcliffe, 40, is recovering in the hospital after a bite from the severed head of a rattlesnake nearly claimed his life and forced doctors to use more than 20 doses of anti-venom on him, according to PEOPLE.
The nearly deadly incident occurred on May 27, when Sutcliffe’s wife, Jennifer, was cleaning up her yard and garden for a cookout later that day. While pulling weeds, she came across a four-foot long Western diamondback rattlesnake, a venomous species found in the southwestern United States and responsible for the greatest number of snakebites in the U.S. and the greatest number of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico.
Jennifer quickly called her husband over, who used a shovel to decapitate the snake. About 10 minutes later, however, Jeremy was bitten by the severed head while reaching down to dispose of the snake. His wife immediately called 911 and got her husband into the car.
“We only got two miles down the road before he started going in and out of consciousness and having seizures. It was very scary. I was trying to keep him calm, alert and awake, and just letting him know we were getting help,” she said.
“His blood pressure kept bottoming out, so they were giving him a lot of fluids. I thought maybe he was going to be okay, but then the doctor told me it was a very grim scenario, because of the amount of venom that he got. That’s when I realized he wasn’t out of the woods,” she continued.
After being flown by helicopter to Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital, Jeremy went into septic shock and was placed in a medically induced coma. After receiving 26 doses of anti-venom, he came out of his coma on May 31 and is currently listed in stable condition, though he remains on dialysis due to acute renal failure.
The snake bite resulted in Jeremy losing the skin on two of the fingers on his right hand, his wife wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help cover medical expenses.1comments
According to James Murphy, head of the Reptile Discovery Center at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., reflexive action in snakes can continue even after death, including the ability to inject venom.
In Jeremy Sutcliffe’s case, the snake released all of its venom into Sutcliffe, requiring doctors give him the numerous doses of anti-venom. In a typical snakebite, only three or four doses of anti-venom are required.