A Colorado father's quick thinking may have saved the life of his son after an encounter with a large rattlesnake in Golden.
"It's not too bad, the swelling has definitely gone down," 11-year-old Ethan Vogel said.
It is now safe to say that Ethan's rattlesnake bite to his chest is healing, but his dad, Zach Vogel, says they are in a far better place from where they were just a few days ago.
"You're thinking like, 'I could lose him right here, what can I do to keep that from happening,'" he said on Friday.
The two hit the popular mountain biking spot on Tuesday. Around 6:30 p.m., an hour into their ride, they hit the top and snapped a photo. Minutes later Ethan got caught up on a rock.
"I kind of went in slow motion and I think I tripped over my own foot and just landed in a kind of... in a bush. And I just saw it and then I just felt a sudden sting," Ethan said.
His father, who was just a few feet behind, saw him pop up from the fall and observed blood on Ethan's shirt.
"Then I heard the rattle and I looked down and saw the snake there and at that point, it was like 'Call 911,'" Zach recalled.
From there all they could do was wait.
"My mission was just to keep his heart rate down and to keep him comfortable. So, I knew that we couldn't move," Zach said.
"My face started to turn numb, my fingers and toes my legs and arms were fine but my face and lips," Ethan said.
19 minutes passed while they wanted for help to arrive.
"We were just talking, stay positive, good thoughts, and deep breaths," Ethan said.
Zach, a fitness trainer, says ice baths are part of his work and something Ethan has started doing as well. He believes that experience may have helped him control his breathing and stay calm as they waited.
"I'm as proud as any dad could ever be," Zach said.
"I mean I just listened to him the whole way because he told me to take deep breaths hope for the best," Ethan said.
They would make it off the mountain but were not out of the woods. On the way to the hospital, Zach says Ethan's heart rate spiked.
"At that point I'm looking at this little body and I'm like I saw it as high as 177," Zach said.
They would end up in the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Colorado. 16 vials of antivenin or antivenom later, Ethan finally turned the corner.
"It's getting there, the pain has died down," Ethan said.
Only a few days since that ride, he's now home surrounded by family and friends, and already back on his bike.
The experience is one they'll never forget as they share their story in hopes of being a guide for others who find themselves in a familiar fight.
"We are blessed to just know this is a great end result, the best as you can hope for, but at that moment of ... bite and phone call, you just don't know," he said.
The antivenom costs thousands of dollars, plus an ambulance ride and with the days in the hospital the family is now looking at some expensive and unexpected medical bills. A friend of the family has since started an online fundraiser to help with medical costs. It can be located by searching the keywords "Help Ethan Fight the Bite."
A man was killed after getting bitten by a rattlesnake in the Golden area 6 years ago. Last year a rattlesnake bite in the Colorado Springs area.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has the following information posted on their website:.
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