Rattlesnake bite leaves man in hospital on due date of his second child

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A Sarasota man is recovering in the hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

He should have been in the hospital Wednesday for a different reason: The bird of his second child.

The baby hasn’t come yet, so Earl Hjertstedt has to worry about his wife – and his recovery – from a hospital bed.

“Life gives you situations that you cannot explain,” Earl said of his situation.

Just a few days ago, Earl was at work, surveying land in some tall grass near a construction site, when it happened.

“I felt a ‘Slap!’ It was a pretty strong one on my leg,” he recalled.

Earl looked down to see and hear a rattlesnake, apparently ready to strike again.

He yelled for his co-workers, “I’ve been bit! I’ve been bit!”

They were able to rush him to the hospital, but the first medical center did not have enough anti-venom so he was transferred to Sarasota Memorial.

Doctors there said there have been a few victims of venomous snakes come through the doors in recent days.

They say surviving a bite comes down to quantity and speed.

“How much venom was injected?” the doctor asked. “Where the injection was and it’s going to depend on how fast the patient makes it to medical care.”

Earl said he was well aware the clock was ticking.

“This is extremely serious. We’ve got to go. I’m just trying to monitor everything and stay focused,” he recalled.

Earl went through two surgeries and doctors were able to save his life - and his leg. Another surgery is planned Thursday.

Friday, if the baby hasn’t come, his wife, Diahanna will be induced.

“I just want him to be able to be in the delivery room with us,” she told FOX 13 News.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital staff said they will do everything they can to make it happen.

The family has a lot of support from family and church members, who have been helping with the couple’s 2-year-old and raising money for medical bills.

Earl said he is thankful for everyone’s kindness.

Once he’s better and the family is settled in, Earl said he wants to raise awareness about the importance of medical facilities having anti-venom.