Small Town News

Disaster and Accident

Rattler kills woman three times

The Democrat Reporter of Linden, Alabama

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Three times doctors in Demopoiis, helicopter, Tuscaloosa bring her back

Jennifer Glass of Gallion stepped on a big rattlesnake in the dark Sunday, Aug. 11.

"It felt like somebody stomped on my foot when it struck."

Two fangs went into the top of her foot. The holes were five centimeters apart, indicating a large diamond back rattler.

Venom was injected directly into a vein. That vein carried her blood and that venom straight to her heart.

After her grandmother had broken her hip, Jennifer was staying with her to assist her living.

When she went out to her car after dark that Sunday night, it was down a path she had walked many times.

Her family lives in Gallion, toward Arcola.

After she was bitten, she turned and went back to the house. She told her mother she had been bitten by a rattle snake.

"Then, I got messed up."

Jennifer began vomiting. Her parents rushed her to Whitfield Hospital in Demopoiis.

Doctors and nurses there began working on her, putting eight vials of antivenin into her veins as quickly as possible.

"I had needles poking into me everywhere they could get one."

The intravenous drips contained the antivenin.

She couldn't control her vomiting or her bowels and the doctors in Demopoiis put her on the helicopter to transport her to DCH Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

The Demopoiis doctors had lost he once. Enroute to Tuscaloosa, Jennifer said they told her she "crashed" again and they got her back.

The third time she died was in DCH, but fate was cheated again.

She remembers a lot of what was happening, especially the excruciating pain.

She was put in the intensive care trauma unit in DCH. Five more vials of antivenin were administered. That was a total of 13.

"I was upside down. That's when my blood pressure had dropped to 40 over 15."

The bed in that trauma unit will tilt so that the patient's head is down with her feet over it vertically.

She said they told her that her kidneys had shut down.

Her other organs were becoming affected, too.

She was in the hospital 12 days. She came home Aug. 22.

The trauma nurse told her, "You are one tough cookie."

The nurse told her she kept fighting and breathing to stay alive.

A ventilator was prepared for her, but the "tough cookie" kept breathing on her own.

As she was upside down, she remembers she heard a drill, "Like in the dentist's office."

Doctors drilled holes in her shin bones to install a metal port just a Me larger than a wooden pencil to keep her bone marrow supplied with liquids.

That hurt, she said, and she jumped. The doctor told her to stay still, they had to do it.

After they had saved her life, they began working to save her foot. The large amount of venom had begun killing all the tissue there.

"It looks pretty terrible," Jennifer said Monday, Aug. 26.

She is at home, tired and weak. She gets around a little on crutches, and her grandmother calls to check on her, now.

Jennifer said the snake got away, but the family looks now when any of them go outside.

She had lot of praise for the DCH medical staff that saved her life and she hopes will have saved her foot.



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Original Publication Date: August 29, 2013



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