El Paso Children's Saves Boy Bitten By Snake

In July, what started out as a fun and adventurous summer spent with grandma turned out to be a nightmare for ten year old Brian Cruz who was bitten by a rattlesnake near his grandmother’s house in Radium Springs, New Mexico. Brian’s mother, Diana Alegria, brought her children to stay for the summer to be with relatives. “We were vacationing here,” she said, “and came in for the Fourth of July from California. I went back on July 5th for my work and my children were spending the summer with grandma.”

“I was playing on my aunt’s trampoline,” said Brian, “then I went for a little walk and I never heard the snake use its rattle. It just struck at me.” Fortunately for him, his uncle was close and was able immediately to help him.

Dr. Prashant Joshi, a toxicologist for the West Texas Poison Control Center and medical director for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at El Paso Children’s Hospital, knows how dangerous a rattlesnake bite can be. “The venom can cause two problems,” he said, “one is that it actually causes damage to the tissues where the bite occurs, and the other problem is that it poisons the blood. It causes thinning of the blood and can cause bleeding, as well.”

Brian wasn’t in pain at first. “But a few seconds later,” he said, “it started to hurt really bad. I was hopping on one leg until I fell to the ground. My uncle heard me and carried me to the inside of the shop where he put me in a chair and tried to calm me down.”

Dr. Joshi makes it clear about what should be done when there is a bite. “First of all, it is very important to keep the victim calm,” he advised. “The more anxious they get, the faster their heart will beat and the venom circulates even more. So,” he advised, “keep the person calm and keep the affected limb as still as possible.”

Brian was taken to a hospital in Las Cruces where he was then transported to El Paso Children’s Hospital. Diana was relieved. “Finally they got here to El Paso,” she stated, “and they gave him medication. They were already waiting for him.”

Dr. Joshi knows the importance of El Paso Children’s Hospital since “it is the only dedicated children’s hospital in the City of El Paso. We are the only PICU where there is a doctor available right there on the premises 24/7. All of the nurses and therapists and doctors exclusively practice pediatrics.”

Diana knows accidents happen and because of this, she knows it is vital to have a place where the staff will act fast. “I’m very grateful you guys are here,” she said.

Brian agrees. “You could give money to the hospital because I saw a lot of sick kids and I really think they need help.”

For more information on how to make a donation to El Paso Children’s Hospital Foundation, please call us at 915-521-7229.