Man Suffers Rattlesnake Bite During Spring Training

| by Reve Fisher
Ralph Shelton in hospital bedRalph Shelton in hospital bed

A California man was enjoying his yearly trip to Arizona when he was bit by a rattlesnake.

Every March, 67-year-old Ralph Shelton from Orange County, California, heads to Arizona to enjoy Spring Training baseball games.

Shelton told KPHO News that he had never seen a snake up close, and unfortunately, he did not see the rattlesnake that bit him and sent him to the intensive care unit of Banner-University Medical Center in Phoneix.

“They just hit you, spit that crap in there, and then they pull their teeth out,” Shelton said of the experience.

While at a park in El Mirage, Arizona, Shelton heard a noise near his trailer and figured it was a mechanical problem.

 “So when I heard that weird noise underneath the trailer, I thought ‘Now what’s the matter?’” Shelton recalled. “So I just kind of stuck my hand in there to get a better view and then, bam.”

In addition to the bite mark in his arm, Shelton also has eight staples in his head.

His blood pressure dropped to a grave degree after the incident, which happens in about two percent of such cases, according to KSAZ News. Shelton fainted and hit his head while speaking to a 911 dispatcher.

Although bites from rattlesnakes rarely result in death, this case may have had an unfortunate ending if medical services had not intervened as soon as they did.

“Every once in a while, you hear about a death in Arizona every five, 10 years or so from a rattlesnake,” said Dr. Frank Lovecchio. “I’d say this is about as close as we’ve come in the last 10 or 15 years.”

Each vial of antivenin costs about $2,000 to $3,000, and most patients typically need about 20 to 25 vials after suffering from a poisonous snake bite.

Shelton said that his family in California is unaware that he is in the hospital. He does not want to tell his wife about the ordeal until he is released.

Sources: KPHO News, KSAZ News / Photo credit: KPHO News

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