Man Bitten By Venomous Snake; Anti-Venom Shortage Complicates Recovery

THOMPSON, Ohio – What is believed to be a venomous Copperhead snake slithered into a Geauga County man's yard on Tuesday and bit the man, forcing him to be rushed to a nearby hospital, Action News' Lynna Lai reported.

Poisonous snakes usually sound off before they attack, but the northern Copperhead is silent and equally as deadly.

The Action News chopper was there as a 35-year-old Thompson man was rushed into University Hospitals with a venomous snakebite. Doctors were put to the test because, according to Dr. Marty Rosenberg of Case Western Reserve University, Copperhead snakes usually don't make their way up to northeast Ohio.

"He swore it was a Copperhead, and there are simply no Copperheads in northern Ohio," Rosenberg said. "You have to go 50 miles south of Columbus to run into Copperheads."

Another problem was a shortage of snakebite medicine nationwide. The hospital had little anti-venom, so they called the Metroparks Zoo, which only had four vials. One drug company stopped making it and another has had recent manufacturing problems.

"They didn't realize that by not making the old anti-venom, they're not geared up to make it as needed," Rosenberg said.

There are only three poisonous snakes that are native to Ohio, including the northern Copperhead. The best advice for someone bitten by a snake is to get to a hospital as soon as possible.

It is also smart to become familiar with what deadly snakes looks like because, as in this case, you won't always hear them coming.