AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s officially rattlesnake season in Texas, and one area hospital is already treating a patient who was bit. The 6-year-old boy from Spicewood has been in the hospital for over a week and continues to fight the infection. Family members say Kole Black has received more than 30 vials of anti-venom, costing the family around $2,500 each.
Like any other nice Texas day, Kole was climbing trees with his sister when he was bit by a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. “It twirled around and then looked at me like this,” said Kole, while twisting his hand around to point at his face. Scared, Kole jumped from the tree and ran home, convinced he had only tripped and hurt his leg with a stick.
“He only had one puncture wound, and he assured me that he hadn’t been bitten so we just kept a vigilant eye on it,” said his father, Jason Black.
Within hours, Kole’s parents quickly realized it was not just a scratch as his leg continued to swell; that’s when Kole was rushed to Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Eight days and 30 vials of antivenom later, Kole remains in the hospital fighting a serious infection in his leg. “Nobody wants to see anyone in pain, much less their children,” said Jason.
Living in a more rural area, Jason says he has talked with his kids about safety and to be aware and not afraid when stumbling upon a snake. “We’ve taught our kids to not turn up rocks, watch when the grass is deeper and really be aware of their surroundings, and even then it can happen.”
In the summer of 2015, Dell Children’s Medical Center treated 15 rattlesnake bite cases, the year before that 14. Pediatric Emergency Medicine Chief for Dell Children’s hospital Dr. Eric Higginbotham says Kole’s case is the first one in 2016. Dr. Higginbotham adds that rattlesnakes will be around all through the spring and summer months, and that every case needs to be taken serious. “If you’re an adult and get bit, you need to get to the hospital as soon as you can. And, if it’s a smaller person, it’s going to be that much worse,” he said.
As for Kole, some days are harder than others but he manages to stay positive and hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
“The very first day, he asked for a stuffed snake to sleep next to,” his father.
Kole’s family has set up a You Caring page to help with hospital costs.