Man bitten by rattlesnake hopes other learn from his experience

Posted: Updated:
A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland
A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland
A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland
A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland
A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking nearing WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience. By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Valley man who had a life-and-death run in with a rattlesnake while walking near WestWorld in Scottsdale wants other people to learn from his experience.

It has been seven days since Keith Hediger was bitten not once, but twice. He has had 55 bottles of antivenin since then, and his hand is still so swollen he can barely move it.

"People need to realize how severe these [bites] can be and take them seriously," he said, sharing his story with 3TV's Tyler Baldwin.

Hediger was walking his dogs when they got excited about what he thought was a lizard in a bush.

When he reached in to move the dog out of the way, the rattler struck. It then bit him again as he tried to protect his dogs.

"I reached in to grab the other dog and it struck my hand," he said. "It struck to my hand, the snake."

Hediger tried to stay calm.

"I was always to told if you get bit to keep yourself calm, keep your heart rate down," he said.

Hediger took his dogs home and then tried to drive himself to the hospital.

"I thought I wouldn't panic as much as I did," he recalled. "But as it went on, I started panicking more and more, realizing that it was a bad situation."

Hediger spent nearly four days at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. He needed 55 bottles of antivenin. The average dose is 12 vials.

Dr. Michelle Ruha, a doctor at Good Sam, says when it come to rattlesnake bites, time is not on your side.

"What we see is anything from very mild symptoms -- a little bit of swelling and pain -- all the way to death," she said.

Hediger said it will be several weeks before his hand heals. He could need surgery and possibly even skin grafts.

Experts at Good Sam say they see between 50 and 80 snake bites each year.

Rattlesnakes and scorpions usually start making an appearance when the temperature hits 80 degrees.