Snake bite victim in 911 call: 'I'm in excruciating pain'

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MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The ordeal of being bitten by a copperhead snake turned even more frustrating for a Madison County man after he ended up trapped in a traffic backup on I-75 as he headed to a hospital.

"It feels like somebody is holding a torch to my hand and taking a hammer and trying to beat it at the same time," the man told a 911 operator.

Police tell us the 26-year-old man was bitten by a venomous snake in his backyard Sunday afternoon in Berea.

"I have just gotten bit by a copperhead, and I'm in terrible shape," the man said to a dispatcher.

The victim says he called the hospital in Berea, and someone told him the hospital did not have the antidote to treat a copperhead bite. Hospital officials say that's not the case. They have the antidote and would have treated him.

"I'm in pain. I've never had pain like this," said the man to a dispatcher. "Please get somebody here fast. I'm swelling pretty bad. And I'm in excruciating pain."

The victim had someone attempt to drive him to UK Hospital.

"Can I please have permission to turn around and go back up the side of this ramp to where I can get to the hospital in Richmond?" asked the man. "I need the hospital fast."

"Just sit there and try to relax as much as you can and not move around much," the dispatcher said to the man.

An ambulance did pick up the man from the side of the interstate, taking him to UK Hospital.

WKYT's Sam Smith talked to Kristen Wiley with the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, and she says copperhead snakes are found all over Kentucky. Wiley told us only four people have ever died from a copperhead bite, never in Kentucky.

"They can cause swelling, and potentially, they can cause loss of tissue or damage at the site of the bite," said Wiley.

The bites are treated with pain management and anti-serum, although it's not required.

As for this Berea man, he is expected to make a full recovery.

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