St. Johns Co. teen survives rattlesnake attack

Doctors, nurses say teen is lucky to be alive


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A St. Johns County teenager who survived a snake bite attack is now talking about his terrifying experience and his friend, who he's calling a hero for saving his life.

Travis Hill and Jacob Emerson were out in the woods Sunday morning in Julington Creek when out of nowhere, Hill was attacked by a rattlesnake.

The snake bit Hill three times, leaving five puncture wounds in the back of his leg and one of the bites went right into one of Hill's veins.

"I know that it was bad because I could feel as I was going out of the woods, I could feel the venom going all the way up through my body," said Hill.

The 17-year-old boy told Channel 4 about what he said was one of the scariest moments of his life.

"My face started going numb and I was getting really pale and my friend was saying, 'Don't freak out. We need to keep your heart rate down,'" said Hill.

Hill's best friend, 17-year-old Jacob Emerson, attributes his Eagle Scout training for giving him the skills to help Travis.

"He needed to keep his heart rate down so the venom didn't pump as quickly as possible, and I just got him out of there," said Emerson.

Hill was later taken to Wolfson Children's Hospital, where it was determined that it would take about 40 vials of anti-venom to stop the poison from spreading through his body.

As the days went on, Emerson said there were moments when he really worried for his friend.

"It didn't really hit me until I first saw him that first couple of days in the hospital and I knew how bad it really was, and that's when it hit me," said Emerson.

Some of the nurses who helped treat Hill said that there's a common misconception that the right thing to do after a snake bite is to suck out the poison. They said that's not the right thing to do, as it could make the situation worse.

Doctors also said if Emerson hadn't taken action the way he did, Hill may not be alive.

"I am very grateful that he was with me on that day, and I'm very lucky," said Hill.

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