This is a brief update on the article from yesterday regarding the bite Clint took from a small western diamond-backed rattlesnake. As of today, Clint is still in the ICU but was sitting in a chair, ready to have something to eat when I saw him. The swelling in his arm and hand are slightly reduced, but the damage to his fingertip is more pronounced, and there is a dusky color at the base of his fingers.
Pit viper venom not only kills prey but also begins to break down tissues, essentially beginning the digestive process before the animal is swallowed. And so, a bite from a western diamond-back does the same thing to a human victim, breaking down tissue and destroying red blood cells. Coagulopathies, which can create problems with bleeding, are common. Clint’s platelet count dropped Saturday night and then improved after he received antivenom. This significant drop in platelets (thrombocytopenia) has been shown to respond positively when the patient gets antivenom. Today, his platelet count dropped again, and so he received an additional two units of Cro-Fab.
Clint reports that the docs are saying he should see improvement in the bitten finger, although it’s not clear if it will return to normal functioning. My bet is that he is keeping the rest of his fingers crossed, hoping that the “digestion” of his finger was limited enough that it will heal properly.