Valley snakebite victim receives historic treatment while being airlifted

Mar 24, 2023, 1:15 PM

PHOENIX — For the first time in Arizona, a snakebite victim recently received antivenom outside of a hospital setting.

Daniel Steininger, 77, was hiking with his wife in Mesa’s Hawes Trail System when a rattlesnake bit his left ankle, Banner Health said in a press release Friday.

While he was was being flown to a hospital via BannerAir, the health care network’s helicopter ambulance, the crew administered the antivenom treatment.

Steininger received additional treatment at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and has since been discharged.

“Because of the quick actions of the entire staff and the EMTs in the field, my recovery has been absolutely dramatic compared to most,” Steininger said in the release.

“I’m entirely grateful to the crew here — from the emergency room, to the nurses, to the toxicologists — they are all fantastic!”

BannerAir started carrying antivenom on its helicopters last August through a partnership with Rare Disease Therapeutics.

“As part of our commitment to Arizona communities, we are honored and proud to be able to deliver this unique life-saving treatment in the field,” Aimee Kollat, chief flight nurse for BannerAir, said in the release.

More than 200 rattlesnake bites are reported each year in Arizona. The cold-blooded venomous reptiles become more active as the weather warms up.

Anybody who gets bitten should call 911 and receive a medical evaluation, regardless of symptoms.

“If you are out hiking and are bitten by a rattlesnake, the most important thing you can do is get to a hospital as soon as possible,” Dr. Anne-Michelle Ruha, chief of the department of medical toxicology at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, said in the release.

“In this case, BannerAir actually had the antivenom available, and the patient was able to receive treatment in less than an hour from the time of his bite, which is really impressive.”

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Valley snakebite victim receives historic treatment while being airlifted