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Out & about: Rattlesnake strikes teen in Dishman Hills

Sun., June 17, 2012

Rattlesnake (Jaime Johnson /
Rattlesnake (Jaime Johnson /

Girl was hospitalized for three days

OUTFIELD – A girl struck by a small rattlesnake in the Dishman Hills Natural Area required three days of hospital care despite getting medical care within 40 minutes.

Tricna Cox, 17, stepped off the trail while hiking with a friend in the northeast corner of the Spokane Valley park near 8th Avenue on June 1 and thought she was stung on the ankle by a bee.

“Maybe she stepped on its tail because there was no warning,” said her father, Shawn Cox. “It wasn’t until after it struck that it crawled a few feet away and started rattling.”

The snake was only 12-15 inches long. Experts say random rattlesnake bites are extremely rare. Most snake bites are the result of people trying to catch or handle the snake.

Friends hustled Tricna to Valley Hospital as the area around the bite slowly began to swell.

After questioning to be sure the snake was a rattler, emergency staff ordered antivenin.

Even though they gave her antivenin within two hours, the swelling continued. “It was at its worst 20 hours later all the way up to her knee,” Cox said.

Doctors were at the brink of resorting to surgery to relieve the pressure when swelling began to subside.

“They kept her in the Intensive Care Unit two nights and in a regular room one night,” he said.

The leg was black and blue, extremely painful to the touch and she needed crutches to walk for nearly a week.

Tricna’s leg was nearly normal Thursday, two weeks after the bite.

“She was lucky to be so close to good medical care,” Cox said, noting the staff gave the family insight on snake bites.

• Don’t use a constricting bandage or tourniquet. “The kids wrapped it tightly with a handkerchief. The doctor says this traps the poison in a small area where it can do more tissue damage.”

• Stay calm and don’t run. “Tricna and her friend ran 200 yards to get to a car. The doctor said it’s best not to get your heart pumping.”

What the youths did correctly was to get to medical help as fast as possible, he said.

“Without quick treatment with antivenin, it could have been a lot worse.”

Long-distance trail pitched for region

OUTBOUND – Spokane hiker-biker Derrick Knowles is proposing formal adoption of a 1,500-mile trail linking routes in a loop through prized wild areas of Montana, Washington and Idaho.

The Inland Northwest Trail would range from the Selkirks to Hells Canyon and lead through six national forests and four wilderness areas.

It would include the Spokane River Centennial Trail and Columbia Plateau Trail as well as scenic trails along the St. Joe and Selway rivers.

Knowles has been researching the route since 2007.

Program: Knowles will present slides and details Monday, 7 p.m., at the Mountain Gear corporate office, 6021 Mansfield in Spokane Valley.


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