Location: Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana
Date: July 4, 1991
On July 4, 1991, in Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana, Hollis Bennett was enjoying the holidays with family and friends while he was preparing his barbeque. His wife, Augusta, was keeping an eye on their 17-month-old son, Kyle, who was playing around in the yard. While wandering around, he saw a snake. When Augusta wasn't looking, he walked closer to it. Then it bit him on the right foot.
When Gail Hudson, who was with Augusta, heard Kyle screaming, she ran to check on him and found the snake coiled up near him. She saw that it had just bitten him. She carried him away from it as everyone else rushed to help.
"When I saw that he was bitten, the only thing I thought was that he was going to die," Gail stated. She called 911 and told the dispatcher about the situation as Hollis and the others tended to Kyle, who was crying loudly in pain. "If something happens to him, I'd just think I'd want to give on life itself. To me, he's everything," Hollis admitted.
Joe Taylor killed the snake to allow the rescuers to identify it so that Kyle could be properly treated. At first, he believed that it was a copperhead, but it turned out to be a cottonmouth. Joe found it hard to believe since he's been there for three years and never saw one there before.
As everyone was treating Kyle, who could die from the poisonous venom within a few hours since a snake bite is serious for a small child, paramedic George Schwindling and his partner were on route.
As Augusta and Gail were treating Kyle, his foot turned black within five minutes. Augusta was afraid that the paramedics wouldn't show up in time and that she may have to perform CPR on her own child.
After nineteen minutes, the ambulance arrived. Schwindling found Kyle still conscious and crying. Joe put the dead snake in a glass jar and handed it to Schwindling so he could identify it. Once that was done, they loaded Kyle into the ambulance. Augusta decided that she should be the one going with him since she's a nurse.
Thirty minutes after being bitten, Kyle was admitted in St. Tammany Parish Hospital, where Dr. Phillip Gardner took over his care. He found that his foot was black and his leg was swelling to the level of his knee. Dr. Gardner was concerned that there was still a lot of venom inside him and that he did face a risk of death. Normally they deal with snake bite cases where anti-venom isn't needed. Dr. Gardner suggested that Kyle's best chance for survival was just that. Even though he could suffer a fatal allergic reaction to it, Augusta and Hollis agreed to take the risk.
"When Dr. Gardner told us that we needed to go to the Children's Hospital, I knew then that he was pretty bad off because we have some good hospitals here and if they couldn't take care of him and give him what he needed, then he was getting bad on us," Augusta stated.
Kyle was transferred to the Children's Hospital 40 miles away as they continued to use the anti-venom. More than two hours after being bitten, he was admitted in critical condition. His parents took turns watching over him. Three days later, Augusta arrived to find a dramatic change. He was standing on the bed with his foot and she realized that he was going to be all right.
Two months later, Kyle has completely recovered from the snake bite that nearly took his life. His parents are grateful to those who helped save his life.