Girl dies after snake bite near Possum Kingdom Lake

A girl a few weeks short of her second birthday died early Wednesday at a Fort Worth hospital after she was bitten by snake Tuesday evening near Possum Kingdom Lake, according to reports.

Peyton Hood of Pflugerville, who would have been 2 on Sept. 1, died at Cook Children's Medical Center, the Tarrant County medical examiner reported.

The child was bitten by a rattlesnake Tuesday evening, according to Palo Pinto County Sheriff's dispatch records.

A woman called the sheriff's office at 7:37 p.m. to report that a snake had struck her granddaughter on the ankle, the records stated.

The call was made from the 3700 block of Pasture Lane, which is on the south side of Possum Kingdom Lake. The area is near Possum Kingdom State Park in northwest Palo Pinto County.

A helicopter ambulance took the girl to Cook. She died at 12:35 a.m. Wednesday at the hospital's intensive care unit, the medical examiner reported.

Details about how the child encountered the snake were unavailable Wednesday.

Texas averages two to three snake bite deaths each year, according to information from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

By comparison, an average of five to seven people die each year from insect bites and approximately eight die each year from lightning strikes, according to TPWD.

"This is something we come across every once in awhile," said Capt. Neal Bieler of the TPWD game wardens' Fort Worth office. "I don't know the circumstances of this, but in Texas, cottonmouths, copperheads and diamondbacks are all over the state, so you just need to be aware of your surroundings."

According to a TPWD fact sheet: "The best rule of thumb is to watch where you put your hands and feet; don't put them in places without looking and don't put them in places where you can't see.

"If you lift a stone or log or any object under which a venomous snake might be, first move it with a stick or hook."

TPWD also noted that snake bites become more dangerous the closer they are to the victim's heart.

"Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effects of snakebites," according to the fact sheet. "Because children are small and close to the ground, they are often bitten on the face and arms."

Modern snake bite treatments are different than they were 30 years ago when "kits" were sold with tiny scalpels, suction cups and restriction bands.

Therefore, health officials don't recommend sucking the venom from fang marks widened by x-shaped incisions.

Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests these steps:

  • "If you or someone you know are bitten, try to see and remember the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
  • "Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • "Dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • "Apply first aid if you cannot get the person to the hospital right away. Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart. Tell him/her to stay calm and still.
  • "Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
  • "Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it. This may put you or someone else at risk for a bite.
  • "Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • "Do not slash the wound with a knife.
  • "Do not suck out the venom.
  • "Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
  • "Do not drink alcohol as a pain killer.
  • "Do not drink caffeinated beverages."
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