Skip to comments.Man who stuck rattler in his mouth and got bit [sic] had a point to make (Near Darwin Award)
Posted on 09/18/2007 3:21:12 PM PDT by jazusamo
In early August, snake collector Matt Wilkinson of Southeast Portland grabbed a 20-inch rattler off the highway near Maupin in Central Oregon.
Three weeks later, in a show of daring for an ex-girlfriend, Wilkinson stuck the snake in his mouth. Near death with a tongue swollen to the point it spilled out of his mouth and blocked his throat, emergency room and trauma surgeons at OHSU saved his life.
The 23-year-old became a celebrity of sorts today when broadcast and cable news all over the country channels wondered at his story. On the phone, still out of sorts with sore muscles and nerves from the venom, he sounded circumspect.
Matt. Dude. How?
"You can assume alcohol was involved," he said. Actually, not just beer. Something he chose to describe as a "mixture of stupid stuff."
Friends were over for a barbecue. A pit was being readied for a backyard bonfire. He himself had downed a six-pack. An ex-girlfriend at the party asked him for a beer. He handed her one, not realizing said snake was also in his hand.
"She said 'get that thing out of my face," Wilkinson said. "I told her it was a nice snake. Nothing can happen. Watch."
He stuck the snake in his mouth. "It got ahold of my tongue." Wilkinson knew he had been bitten. In pain and finding it hard to breathe, he quickly arranged to be driven to the hospital, his ex-girlfriend behind the wheel. Why her? "She was the only one sober," Wilkinson said.
They made it about two blocks from his home near Southeast 82nd and Woodstock and Wilkinson knew they were in big trouble. They spotted a cop and stopped to ask for help. That's the last thing he remembers before waking up at Oregon Health & Sciences University.
Trauma surgeon Dr. Richard Mullins was in the OHSU cafeteria when his beeper went off. The message was to get to the ER right away. Physicians there were unable to get a breathing tube down Wilkinson's throat.
What Mullins saw was an engorged tongue sticking out his mouth. Snake venom thins the blood and Wilkinson was also bleeding quite noticeably from the bite wounds. "Ninety-nine percent of the time" ER physicians can handle such a case, Mullins said. Not this time, which is why he was paged.
He quickly cut a hole in Wilkinson's neck to insert the breathing tube. Physicians under consultation from Dr. Zane Horowitz of the OHSU Poison Control Center then started giving Wilkinson an anti-venom.
They moved Wilkinson to the intensive care unit, where he was kept heavily sedated until the swelling went down. "Then we let him wake up," Mullins said.
As dramatic a medical procedure as this sounds, Mullins said the snake bite is not the worst he has seen for blocked air passages.
Before seat belt laws, horribly disfigured motorists who had gone through windshields would be brought into the ER. He has treated botched suicides where the bullet went through the neck. The worst memory for him was a patient who rear-ended another vehicle and ended up with severe facial burns from hot radiator fluid.
Horowitz said Wilkinson is one of about 50 people a year seen by the Poison Control Center who've been bitten by rattlers or other poisonous snakes. Most of them were hit on the legs while hiking in Eastern Oregon. Some got zapped while reaching under a rock or working on their properties, he said.
Very few have been bitten on the tongue.
Wilkinson, who works in concrete construction, has been unable to return to work. His muscles and nerves are out of whack from the venom, and possibly lack of oxygen. He's getting a CAT scan Friday.
Friends at work that he's spoken with are pretty blunt. "They were like, what the heck were you thinking," Wilkinson said. The answer?
"It's my own stupidity."
I'da never guessed.
Sometimes people ask me "Bill, how drunk have you ever been in your life? Knee-walkin', snot-slingin', commode-huggin' drunk, trying to call Ralph O'Roarke from the bottom of a toilet bowl?" And I can honestly answer, "Well, I've been drunk before, but never drunk enough to attempt to aspirate a rattlesnake." It's a benchmark of sorts.
Lucky for this guy stupidy is not a crime or he would be on death row awaiting the needle
LOL! I had to wait to clear the tears before I could post this.
video here warning graphic
This brings to mind that famous joke down south
Famous last words of a southern redneck...
Here, hold my beer. Check this out, ya’ll aren’t gonna believe this $hit.....
So...he is not the first.
Allow me to be the first to predict that they get back together because of this. As far as he’s concerned, she saved his life by being fashionably late, and therefore “the only sober one at the party.” As far as she’s concerned, hey, he’s a celebrity now...
Thanks for the link. This guy was very lucky to make it from his looks in that video.
Imagine she`ll remain being an ex girl friend too.
Boy, that gives me the creeps! I have much respect for rattlers.
Famous last words of a southern redneck...
Here, hold my beer. Check this out, yall arent gonna believe this $hit.....
Ever hear that one?
Not personally but I have seen the aftermath, LOL
Fortunately for that guy, it was only a python.
You’re right, I thought it was a rattler. Bet his nose was still awful sore. lol
He was drinking liquid courage.
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