Anthem man's warning after suffering painful rattlesnake bite

Posted at 7:08 PM, Sep 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-22 08:41:13-04

He describes it as the most intense pain he's ever felt in his life; and after two days in the hospital, Ron Webster is finally back home, still recovering from a baby rattlesnake bite.

Webster said it happened as he was getting ready to turn in for the night at his Anthem home.

He was turning off the lights and heading in from the garage when he stepped right on top of it.

"I felt something stinging my foot. I thought I had stepped on a cactus thorn," said Webster.

He saw the snake on the rug right away and put a bucket over it to trap it, then had his wife call 911.

Webster said the pain went away and he thought he would be fine. So when medics from the Daisy Mountain Fire Department showed up, he turned them away saying he would drive himself to the hospital.

Phoenix firefighters who initially took the call had also been looking into it, and determined the best hospital for him to head to was Good Samaritan hospital in downtown Phoenix. The facility, though 45 minutes away, had more anti-venom than the hospital closest to Webster's home.

Webster said turning away the medics was a bad idea. He had gone no more than a quarter mile when the stinging pain came back with a fury.

"It started to welt up and it felt like somebody was holding a hot poker against that spot, just a constant burning. I had a sharp, almost like an electrocution feeling in my two small toes. The best way I can describe it is it felt like over time, I was immersing my foot into boiling water slowly," said Webster.

His foot was swollen to where you could not tell he had an ankle anymore.

In the emergency room, staff had to use 16 bottles of anti-venom on his foot over the next day and a half.

Webster was not looking forward to that hospital bill. "I've heard it can cost anywhere from $2,000 a bottle to $12,000," he added.

Now, back at home and still in some pain, Webster calls himself lucky.

He said he was glad it was not one of his young children who had suffered that snake bite.

His warning to others: "Wear shoes in the garage, and never delay. Get yourself to the hospital immediately," said Webster.