Local

Family trip turns terrifying when copperhead snake bites 6-year-old boy

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A family trip to Lake Burton over the weekend turned terrifying for a Fulton County family after a copperhead snake bit their 6-year-old son, Ford.

The boy was throwing rocks near the water and some bushes when, he said, he got too close to a hidden 2-foot-long snake.

"I didn't know it, but the snake was inside the bush, and the snake popped out, and it bit me on the pinkie," Ford O'Neill told Channel 2 Action News.

For Ford's parents, the mission was clear when he was bit.

"I grabbed him, scooped him up, ran to the house and called 911," said Ford's father.

TRENDING STORIES:

Ford's parents said he never panicked because snakes are his favorite reptile.

"We asked him. We said, 'What do we do Ford?' He said, 'I gotta keep my hand below my heart. I have to slow my heart rate.' He knew all the steps," said Ford's father.

At Lake Burton, paramedics loaded Ford into a helicopter. When he arrived at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, he needed nine bags of anti-venom because the swelling kept increasing, his parents said.

His family said he fought hard to get through the pain until he improved enough for doctors to release him Tuesday.

"He's a soldier. I mean, he didn't shed a tear until they took the IV out. The whole time, he's been -- God was with him for sure," said Ford's father.

The child is recovering, waiting for the time when he can play with his friends again. Ford told Channel 2 Action News he feels good and has no plans to be within reach of any more snakes.

Dr. Scott Batchelor, with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said copperhead bites are the most common, and the mistakes parents sometimes make when their child gets bitten can make things worse.

"Do not put a tourniquet around the wound. Do not cut into the wound with any kind wound, with any kind of blade," said Batchelor.