When one couple rushed their son to hospital with a suspected bite, they were obviously concerned. However, they had no idea that their toddler’s life was hanging in the balance. Indeed, if doctors didn’t act quickly, he might not make it out alive.
The Hadley Family live in Grapevine in Texas. They are dad Trent, mom Amy, daughter Riley and son Parker. In 2014 the little boy was two years old and growing fast. So, his parents were keen to create precious memories with him and his sister.
As a result, that October the family went on vacation to their property in Panhandle, TX. They had planned an idyllic holiday. So, the Hadleys began collecting firewood so they could toast s’mores later that evening.
Keen to help, little Parker subsequently began fetching sticks with his dad. However, the bonding experience soon descended into chaos. Because, while they were out, something bit the toddler’s foot.
Soon, Parker’s leg doubled in size due to the swelling. So, his parents rushed him to the nearest hospital. However, he needed specialist care. As a result, doctors then transferred him to the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
There, doctors could finally treat the two bites Parker had sustained. To do so, they needed 22 vials of anti-venom. What’s more, if he hadn’t have been treated so quickly, he could have lost his young life.
That’s because it turned that out a rattlesnake had bitten Parker. Nonetheless, thankfully his parents’ quick thinking saved him from Texas’s most deadly snake. “I reach down to hand him some firewood and saw the snake,” Trent subsequently recalled in an interview with CBS DFW.
It was then that the father put two and two together and realized that his son was wounded. “It just got him,” he said. “Immediately, I grabbed him, took him inside, rolled him over [and] saw he was bitten.”
However, despite his ordeal, little Parker was putting on a brave face. “He was not tearful. He was not screaming, hurting in pain,” his mom Amy revealed. “Luckily, we just saw the snake and knew what it was.”
Moreover, before rushing Parker to hospital, the couple managed to kill the snake and take a picture. This in turn helped doctors determine just what species it was and how to treat their son. From there, all his parents could do was hope he’d pull through.
“We just prayed from the very beginning that he would stay protected and get the care that he needed right away,” Amy explained, as she thought back to the agonizing wait for news. “That’s what’s carried us through.”
Thankfully, Parker was in the best possible place for him. In fact, doctors at the Children’s Medical Center treat up to 30 snake bites a year. However, they only tend to see a rattlesnake bite about twice a decade.
In Texas at least, rattlesnakes biting children remains very rare. Instead, copperhead bites are much more common. Nonetheless, when a rattlesnake does attack, medical staff are prepared to act – and quickly.
In the United States, around 8,000 people suffer venomous snake bites every year. Nevertheless, of these only five people will die on average. Moreover, the most important factor for survival is the time between the bite and the anti-venom being administered.
Indeed, if a snake bite victim is treated within two hours, they stand a 99 percent chance of surviving. However, if left for six to 48 hours, the chance of death is significantly higher. As a result, doctors deem rattlesnake bites to be life-threatening emergencies.
“The venom itself is more toxic to the tissue, to the muscles that are involved in the area,” Lori Vinson, director of trauma services at Children’s Medical Center, explained. “We have to monitor them more closely.”
According to reptile expert Carl Franklin, the time of year Parker was bitten was during breeding season for rattlesnakes. Furthermore, the cooler temperatures of October make the snakes more active. However, he believes that the animal attacked the toddler because it was frightened.
“A rattlesnake at 14 inches lying on the ground is about an inch tall,” he told Fox 4 News. “So, a two-year-old compared to that is still like a 30-foot tall giant walking up on it. And the snake doesn’t know that the two-year-old is a sweet kid.”
What’s more, a week after the incident, Parker was almost back to his normal self. The smile had returned to his face and he was watching movies on his tablet. “He’s a trooper,” his mom told CBS DFW.
Now, his parents are keen to pass their lessons on to other families. “One of the most important things we learned was to identify the snake immediately,” Trent told Fox 4. “Because we had that, we were able get the anti-venom going within an hour of the bite. So we were rockin’ and rollin’ quickly.”