Local woman wants others to learn from her mistake after snake bite lands her in the hospital

Local News

Lawrence, Kan. (KSNT) — A local woman is warning others after recovering from a snake bite she suffered while camping at Clinton lake.

Like many people do when they wake up, early Sunday morning Shelly Totty went to reach for her phone.

But, she was met with a strange pinch.

“I thought it was a bee or wasp or something like that,” said Totty. “So, I still looked at my phone, looked at the time and then I sat there and felt like something wasn’t right.”

After checking her camper, she discovered a baby copper head snake right by where she had grabbed her phone.

Totty found the snake right next to where her phone had been.

Not sure what to do, she called her boyfriend Dreux Doty who rushed to her and killed the snake –and then took her to the hospital.

“It was very scary, you know,” said Doty. “It is the stuff of horror movies that we seemed to be experiencing in real life.”

By the time Totty made it to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, her entire hand was completely swollen with the swelling continuing to get spread up her arm.

Totty said once she realized the severity of the situation, fear began to set in.

“You hear about snake bites, you know, you think death or something like that,” said Totty. “But you feel it moving through your body. You see it swelling as it’s taking over.”

The hospital staff had to get antivenom from a pharmacy and they were able to stop the swelling just before it spread any further.

Totty thinks the snake probably made its way in her camper with a pile of chairs she brought in from outside.

After her scary encounter, she warns others not to make the same mistake.

“Be hypervigilant,” said Totty. “When you’re in nature, you’re in their territory and you might think you are doing what you need to do to be careful, but there’s always something more you need to do.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are bitten by a snake, you should immobilize the bite area, remove any jewelry or tight clothing surrounding it and seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

To find out more about symptoms and treatment for snake bites, click HERE.

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