Teen survives bites in snake nest


A teenage California girl searching for a cellphone signal to call her mother in a rural area outside San Diego inadvertently stepped into a nest of rattlesnakes and was bitten six times but survived.
Vera Oliphant, 16, spent four days in the intensive-care unit of Sharp Grossmont Hospital, and doctors gave her 24 vials of antivenin after she was bitten by an adult rattlesnake and five young rattlers outside her uncle’s home. “I was trying to find a signal to call my mom and text my boyfriend,” Oliphant said on Friday, a day after she was released from the hospital after the Oct. 27 incident. “I didn’t see them until I already stepped on their nest and I felt them biting me.”
“My vision started to go right away. First, it looked like the snakes blended into the leaves, and then I started seeing black spots around the edges and I started blacking out.” Her uncle immediately packed her into a car and rushed her to the emergency room, she said.
Doctors there administered antivenin to quash the toxins, a hospital spokesman said. Snakebites usually aren’t fatal, although a handful of people die in the United States each year from snake bites.
Oliphant has recovered and will be returning to classes at Chaparral High School in El Cajon on Monday. She said the next time she can’t get a signal, she will handle it differently.
“Be careful where you step,” she said. “If you don’t need to, just wait until you are somewhere that you can call people.”