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Pueblo West man still recovering after life-threatening rattlesnake bite

PUEBLO WEST, Colo. (KRDO) - A Pueblo West man is recovering at home after almost losing his life following a rattlesnake bite.

On Aug. 11, around 8:50 p.m., Luis Linhares went outside to grab a backpack out of his car. He told KRDO he had only taken five steps outside his door when a rattlesnake attacked him - biting him on the upper part of his ankle.

"He wouldn't have been able to even if he'd had the phone with him. It was it was just instantaneous," said Linn Smith, Linhares' wife.

After just five days in the Intensive Care Unit, Luis was able to go home. But, the family said the recovery process has not been easy.

"The bite area is about three and a half inches. So it's a fairly large bite area. So the large vipers are around here," said Linhares.

Photo credit: Linn Smith

"He did go into AFib the first day he got up and they warned that might happen, but he pulled through that too. It looks better, but we're not out of the woods," said Smith.

According to Parkview Medical Center, the majority of snakebites occur on hands, feet, and ankles. At Parkview in 2021, eight patients were treated for snakebites, with six patients in 2022. So far in 2023, five patients have been treated.

"Try to remember not to forget, to look for snakes, be careful, cautious, and be kind to your loved ones because you never know," said Smith.

Linhares was given 44 vials of anti-venom. He said if it was not for his health insurance he would be bankrupt from all the medical costs, with the cost of anti-venom he received being $1,760,000.

Photo credit: Linn Smith

Fortunately for him, Linhares's insurance company was able to cover most of it. He is now urging more people to make sure their health insurance covers this type of incident.

The Pueblo West Fire Department (PWFD) is also urging residents to make sure to cut their grass because snakes like to hide in the brush.

"Snakes love the warm weather, the tall grass, or where they like to hide out underneath rocks. This fall, with everyone cleaning up before winter time," said Aaron Eggert, a paramedic with PWFD.

Linhares has since bought protective gear like chaps and gaiters to protect his feet and hands from snake bites when working outside in the yard or even walking around.

Below is a photo of the injury:

Photo credit: Linn Smith
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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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