What You Need To Know: Copperhead Snakes

Marietta child remembers snake bite every year with nice deed  

Levi Fisher of Marietta was bitten by a copperhead on August 3, 2014. Just two years old at the time, he was rushed to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where he spent four days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). He was treated with 24 vials of antivenom. 

Every year, as the date approaches, his mom has askes Levi, "Hey, your snakeversary is coming up. What would you like to do this year to say thank you to the people who helped you?" 

Last year, it was pizza delivery to the first responders at the fire department. This year, he returned to Children’s to deliver ice cream sandwiches to the PICU staff, along with a handwritten note that said “Thank you for taking care of me! Love, Levi.” 

Last week, Levi, now 6, even reunited with Shelbey Fanning, one of his PICU nurses from his hospital stay in 2014. 

Here’s Levi with Shelbey Fanning, one of his PICU nurses from his hospital stay in 2014. His wagon is full of ice cream sandwiches. 
Photo: Provided by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

 Levi’s mom, Christina Fisher, shared their story in a blog entitled, “Snake vs. Toddler: The Fisher Family's Story” posted on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta web site

My husband, an Eagle Scout who grew up in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, has been diligent to educate our kids about the great outdoors. He explained there are a number of dangerous snakes common to our area, and that our backyard is exactly the type of habitat in which they like to live. The one time they mistook a small harmless snake for a nightcrawler and brought it inside, we had a family meeting about proper snake protocol. In short, we did everything we could. And our kids are young—only 2, 3, 5, and 6 years old at the time—and they were never outside alone. I figured our presence and occasional lectures on backyard safety were enough. On Aug. 3, 2014, I was proved wrong. That was the day a copperhead snake bit our 2-year-old son, Levi. 

File photo of a copperhead snake.
Photo: skeeze / Pixabay.com

Levi was walking through our front yard when he was struck twice on the hand. I ran to scoop him up when I heard the scream and saw him falling backward. The snake was coiled up in pine straw, just five feet from our front door, when it struck. My husband quickly identified the venomous snake and called 911. I held Levi's hand tightly to his side, trying to keep him from moving it. He was screaming, and it was obvious he was in a tremendous amount of pain. My 5-year-old was asking me a question. I could see in his eyes just how scared he was. “Mommy, is Levi going to die?" I remember it as the most terrifying moment of my life. We had talked countless times about what to do if someone is bitten by a snake. We know to keep the victim still. We know to try to identify the snake to see if it's venomous. And we've always said that if it is a copperhead (a venomous snake native to our area), we will call 911 immediately. It is because we had this plan that we were able to jump into action the way we did.

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