Cost of a rattlesnake bite? It’s exorbitant

A Mississippi man suffered a rattlesnake bite from a timber rattlesnake similar to this one. Photo by Paul Staniszewski/Shutterstock
A Mississippi man suffered a rattlesnake bite from a timber rattlesnake similar to this one. Photo by Paul Staniszewski/Shutterstock

On the family farm in Hurley, Mississippi, Dana Sanders Jr. was clearing out some shooting lanes for the coming archery season for deer last Saturday when he felt a strike on his left leg just above his boot. He immediately thought rattlesnake bite.

Turns out, it was a rather costly rattlesnake bite.

"It was very violent," Sanders told The Clarion-Ledger, which reported the story Tuesday. "It was a very hard bite. I knew exactly what it was."

The pain was immediate. He looked around to determine the species of snake and spotted a timber rattlesnake estimated to be over five-feet long. He then headed for the hospital in Vicksburg.

While in the hospital, Dana Sanders' leg was swollen and bleeding after a rattlesnake bite. Photo by Adrian Sanders/Special to The Clarion-Ledger used by permission
While in the hospital, Dana Sanders' leg was swollen and bleeding after a rattlesnake bite. Photo by Adrian Sanders/Special to The Clarion-Ledger used by permission

By then he was dry-mouthed and started tingling all over. He was treated with painkillers, antibiotics, and CroFab, an anti-venom.

"While a snake bite likely won't cause death," The Clarion-Ledger wrote, "the price of CroFAb could send the victim into cardiac arrest."

Dr. Robert Cox, director of the Mississippi Poison Control Center, told the newspaper that he has seen prices from $4,000 to $7,000 per vial.

"I've heard a couple of different numbers in the ER," Sanders said. "It's 2,000-plus [dollars] per vial. I've had 10 now, I believe. Blue Cross is going to love this bill."

If $20,000 is the total, Sanders and his insurance company ought to consider themselves lucky. Treating a rattlesnake bite isn't cheap. It could have been much more exorbitant.

Dag-Are Trydal, a UC San Diego exchange student from Norway, was hospitalized at Scripps La Jolla Hospital in 2012 for a rattlesnake bite. His final bill: $143,989.

One more reason not to get bitten by a rattlesnake, not that you need another reason.

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