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Rattlesnake bite victim is receiving 6 vials of antivenom every 3 hours

Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene is ordering more antivenom as the number of rattlesnake bite cases in the Big Country continue to rise.

Pam Duncan of Cisco is the fifth person in the Big Country within the past month to fall victim to a rattlesnake bite, but in her case, she was bitten multiple times.

“It struck her four times in one foot and once in the other foot,” said Duncan's daughter Heather Nichols.

Duncan was tending to a wasp nest in her yard on Wednesday morning when she suddenly felt a stinging sensation on her feet, thinking that she had been stung a wasp.

“When she looked down, she realized she was actually standing on the rattlesnake,” Nichols said.

After calling 911, Duncan was taken to a hospital in Eastland, where she received 5 vials of antivenom before being transported by helicopter to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.

Dr. Leslie Sharpe, an Emergency Physician at Hendrick Medical Center, advises people to call 911 instead of driving themselves to the hospital if they are bitten by a rattlesnake.

“Absolutely call 911, they can get here a lot faster, even if you live in some of the outlying areas,” said Sharpe.

The sooner that treatment for a rattlesnake bite begins, the less of a risk there is that somebody loses any of their limbs or worse yet, their life.

Dr. Sharpe is also debunking age-old myths about caring for rattlesnake bites that could potentially save lives.

“Do not put a tourniquet on at all, do not let yourself or anyone else try to suck the venom out, that is extremely dangerous, not only to you, but also to the person who is trying to suck it out,” Dr. Sharpe said. “That includes using any of those kits that used to be used."

As for Duncan’s condition, her family told KTXS News that she is awake, but in excruciating pain.

Hendrick Medical Center has treated 12 people for rattlesnake bites since June 15, none of which have been fatal cases.

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