Man 'almost died' from coral snake bite

Sept. 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM

MIRAMAR, Fla., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A Florida man says he nearly died after he was bitten by a coral snake outside his home in Miramar.

Robert Hughson, 53, was taking a look at a noisy air conditioning unit Tuesday when he was bitten by the venomous snake, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

"I felt the most horrifying burn in my leg, and looked down and the snake was chewing on my foot," Hughson said Sunday.

Hughson said he immediately dialed 911 and help arrived within 5 minutes.

By the time he got to the emergency room, "the pain started getting worse and worse," Hughson said. "I was losing sensation in my foot and my tongue swelled."

Doctors initially gave Hughson five vials of anti-venin, but his vital signs began to drop and he had to be given more.

"I almost died," Hughson said.

Now, he said, "my tongue feels heavy and when I stand and try to walk the pain inside my leg and foot is excruciating."

Experts said about 100 coral snake bites are reported each year, with about 70 of those coming in Florida.

"There is a tremendous amount of pain in these bites," said Dr. Heidi Cohen, an emergency room physician who has treated several coral snake bite victims. "These animals are extremely dangerous and toxic. Avoid them."

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