SARASOTA, Fla. - A man who was bitten by a rattlesnake near a construction site last month is now out of the hospital and recovering after undergoing multiple surgeries. Earl Hjertstedt considers himself very lucky.
“I just never imagined any of this would happen," Hjertstedt said.
His left leg is now in a cast after the near-fatal rattlesnake bite. One of the rattlesnake’s fangs clamped down on the side of his leg the other pierced his boot.
“I felt something hit me on my shin really hard," Hjertstedt said. “The pain started kicking in. Every step just felt totally painful."
Hjertstedt was on the job surveying land at a construction site when he was bitten. He was rushed to a local hospital but learned they were low on anti-venom so he was transferred to Sarasota Memorial.
After spending the last few weeks in the hospital, he’s out and recovering with his wife, Diahanna and their newborn son, Lathe, who is just days old.
“I did feel like my other half was gone. I’ve never been away from him for three weeks. Being home by myself with the kids, it sucked. It was really hard," Diahanna said.
Coincidentally, Lathe was born at the same hospital where his dad was receiving treatment just days after the snake bite. With the help of nurses, Hjertstedt was wheeled into the delivery room on a stretcher just minutes before his wife gave birth.
“He barely made it but he was there. We were holding hands and he got to hold the baby," Diahanna said.
Typically, anti-venom should be administrated within 30 minutes of the snake bite. Waiting longer could be fatal.
In Hjertstedt’s case, he was forced to wait more than four hours before he was finally given the anti-venom. Doctors told him they were surprised he survived.