Life-saving antivenom treatments in the air

Banner Health is helping treat hikers bit by rattlesnakes get the treatment and care they need ASAP.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 9:56 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Temperatures are heating up in a major way in Arizona, and with them come snakes!

Daniel Steininger went for a hike in Mesa, and while he and his wife were out enjoying themselves, he was bit by a rattlesnake. Fortunately, because the two were hiking together and called 911, EMT arrived and gave him anti-venom before it was too late. Steininger was flown to Banner Hospital, which resulted in being the first patient to receive new in-flight anti-venom treatment from the aircrew.

One of the nurses on the flight, Christine McClure, came to Good Morning Arizona to discuss the life-saving treatment. “The sooner we can give the antivip, the sooner we can stop the delivery of the venom to the cells, the better,” she said. McClure said that Banner Air allows pre-hospital treatment, so you can receive treatment immediately if you’re bit and can manage that.

“Try not to wear your headphones and be aware of your surroundings is probably best,” she said regarding self-awareness when hiking.

There are 13 different kinds of rattlesnakes and there is a total of six in the immediate Phoenix metro area. “The best thing you can do is just don’t mess with them,” Cale Morris, venom manager at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary, said. “Give them their distance.” The sanctuary has an antivenom bank full of more than 200 venomous snakes across more than 70 different species across the world.