Teen Bitten By Rattlesnake Pulled It Off Leg

A 15-year-old boy bitten by a rattlesnake kept his cool, handling the snake and getting out of the area without panicking, his proud parents told NBC 7 Monday.

Bradley Avey was about an hour into a Sunday afternoon hike with his family in Mission Trails when he moved to join his father Thomas on a rock outcropping. As he walked through two bushes, he said, “Dad, I think I got bit.”

Thomas said he didn’t believe his son at first, but he heard a nervous tone in his voice.

“The next thing I know, I see him reaching down. He grabs the snake, kind of pulls it off his leg, and throws it,” said Thomas. The roughly 3-foot snake had given no warning, and even after it was tossed aside, there was still no rattling.

The two ran back to the rest of the group, where Bradley’s mother Julie got on the phone with 911. Thomas pulled down Bradley’s sock and saw two distinctive fang marks. He knew it had to be a rattlesnake.

His son asked if he was going to die. “I said no, you’re not going to die. You’re going to be OK,” Thomas recalled.

Within ten minutes, they say the San Diego Fire-Rescue helicopter landed on the trails and airlifted Bradley out.

“Being my own son, I can't believe that I was that calm,” said Julie. “But it was because of the awesome dispatchers and the San Diego Fire-Rescue helicopter. When they arrived on scene, they were professional, calm, collected.”

Bradley was flown to Rady Children’s Hospital, and doctors gave him a dose of antivenin.

His parents say he is tired with a leg twice its normal size, but he will be just fine. They wanted to thank all the emergency personnel who helped to save their son.

Keri Carstairs, medical director of the Rady’s emergency department, said if anyone finds themselves in this situation, they should do exactly what this family did.

She said when bitten by a snake, never put on a tourniquet, do not try to suck the venom out and do not cut at the bite. You should get away from the snake, call 911 and wait for help.

While firefighters say they don’t get many of these calls this time of year, Carstairs said it’s not too uncommon.

“In San Diego, we have such a mild climate. Although it seems cool to most of us here today, the mild climate allows these snakes to be outside all year,” she said.

However, it is exceedingly rare for snakebites to turn fatal, according to Carstairs.

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