Not sure about that last paragraph, but wow if I ever go to the ****hole I park by the garden center and go in. I'm taking a hoe with me next time.
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJ ... 071709.htm
July 17, 2009
Man may face amputation after Walmart snakebite
By HEATHER SCOFIELD
ST. AUGUSTINE -- A trip to a store to buy a fern left a Palm Coast couple facing one of the most difficult decisions of their lives Thursday.
It was all part of an ordeal that began Tuesday after Jeriel Joiner, 27, was bitten by a baby pygmy rattlesnake while shopping at a St. Augustine Walmart.
Joiner and his fiancee, Rhiannon Gross, 30, were forced to decide whether Joiner would undergo a second $30,000 emergency medical treatment after the first such attempt nearly killed him Tuesday night.
Gross said by phone Thursday that she and Joiner and the couple's 7-week-old infant were looking at plants in the garden center when the baby's bottle fell to the floor. Gross said Joiner reached under some shelving to retrieve the bottle when he was bitten.
"He stuck his hand under the shelving and I heard him say 'ouch.' I thought he was joking, but when he pulled his hand out there was a snake on his finger," Gross said.
She said the 7-inch snake was caught and killed by a store employee.
According to information published online by Stetson University, pygmy rattlesnakes are the most abundant venomous snake in Florida and "one of the most abundant snake species in the garden sections of Walmart stores."
In the past three years, pygmy rattlesnake bites have been reported at Walmart stores in Viera, Sanford and Pembroke Pines, and there are more reports dating as far back as 1987.
Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie said customer safety is a "top priority" for store officials and pointed out that the store's garden center was closed and checked thoroughly following the Tuesday incident. It was reopened at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Joiner was taken to Flagler Hospital where doctors administered the necessary antivenin. But before they'd even finished pushing it through his intravenous line, Gross said Joiner began suffering a severe allergic reaction.
"He started foaming at the mouth and his body turned beet red," Gross said. "It was like nothing I'd ever seen. He couldn't breathe and his eyes were bulging."
Joiner received multiple allergy medications to stop the reaction, Gross said, and then was moved to the intensive care unit at Shands Jacksonville. On Thursday she said the swelling that once was contained to a single finger had spread through his right hand and up his arm.
Late on Thursday, the pair was forced to decide whether to allow doctors to administer the antivenin again, this time at a slower pace and in a more diluted formula. But Gross said the couple were told they would have to waive the hospital's liability.
Gross and Joiner said they opted against the second treatment.
"We opted against it because we didn't want to sign the waiver and we didn't want to risk death. Not with a newborn," Gross said.
She said the decision means Joiner faces the possibility of permanent nerve damage, arm paralysis and amputation.
Hardie said Walmart officials are closely monitoring Joiner's situation and wish him a quick recovery.
But the concern expressed by the spokeswoman is not what Gross said they experienced while still at the store Tuesday or anytime since.
"There has been nothing," Gross said. "Not one phone call or one visitor (from a Walmart representative)."
After the snake bit Joiner, she said employees didn't offer to help and management seemed nowhere to be found. In the end, only an "elderly greeter" came to their rescue, batting at the snake with an old broom. She even had to call for an ambulance using her own cell phone, Gross said.
"I was really upset with how they handled the situation," Gross said.
She said with intensive care treatment and a $30,000 bill for a serum that proved nearly lethal, her uninsured fiance's hospital bills are mounting.
They signed a contract Thursday with a personal injury law firm and intend to file suit, she said.
"This might end up being a blessing in disguise, but it's not worth it," Gross said, "The pain he's in right now isn't worth it and I want him to be home with me and the baby."