WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS BELOW
A man who was doing work in the woods with his friends said a “freak accident” involving a snake landed him in medical trouble with a massively swollen purple finger.
“It was just kind of a freak accident,” Austin McGee, of Franklin, Tenn., told Fox 17 Nashville. “I honestly never thought that a rattlesnake bite wasn’t that big of a deal.”
McGee, who was in the woods with friend Noah Hammer, said he reached down to pick up some metal when he felt what he thought was a sting.
Hammer, who was nearby, said he heard what he thought was “a bug or something because it wasn’t that loud.”
But over the next few days, McGee’s finger began blistering, which lead to a harrowing ordeal.
“It progressively kept getting worse and then they popped it and it went back down and then the skin around it kept coming off,” he told Fox 17 Nashville. “It was like a throbbing, it was beating with my heart every time.”
According to a May 30 Facebook post by Dalton Dorris, another one of McGee’s friends, doctors said his finger will make a full recovery within six to eight months, and suspect that he was bitten by a young timber rattlesnake.
“Keep this in mind the next time you are in the woods,” Dorris wrote alongside the gruesome photos. “I know I have changed my mind set on not taking them seriously after seeing this. And no, he was not messing with it. He was picking up some metal and the snake was under the metal. He never knew it was there.”
A timber rattlesnake is the largest, most dangerous of the four venomous snakes found in the state, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
It’s described as a large, heavy-bodied snake with a triangular head and a rattle at the end of the tail. Timber rattlesnakes are typically found in heavily wooded forests and they feast on mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels and other small rodents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by a venomous snake in the U.S. each year, resulting in an average of five fatalities. Victims are encouraged to seek medical treatment immediately if they are bitten, and are advised to keep still and calm to slow down the spread of venom.