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Boy, 10, bitten by rattlesnake at Prineville Reservoir

By Chris Willis, KGW.com
Published On: Aug 11 2014 11:55:16 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 12 2014 03:42:38 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Matt McDonald reports on a 10-year-old Prineville boy who survived a rattlesnake bite at Prineville Reservoir.

PORTLAND, Ore. -

A 10-year old Prineville-area boy is lucky to be alive after he was bitten by a rattlesnake at the Prineville Reservoir over the weekend.

Eithen Hamilton was inner-tubing with family and friends when they decided to go ashore and play on the rocks.

Eithen and his buddy were playing with Hot Wheels when one of the toy cars fell into the rocks. When Eithen reached for it, he immediately knew he'd been bitten by a snake.

"It was a baby, this long," he said, holding up his hands about six inches apart. "It felt like two needles stabbing you."

Eithen's mom, Amie, was immediately concerned. "I'm all, 'What?' And he's all, 'I'm getting really dizzy and it hurts really bad,' so we had already got 911 before we even left the beach."

Amie Hamilton told NewsChannel 21 she'd been telling her son to watch for snakes, and "I turned my back for a sec and then, 'Mommy I got bit by a snake.' I thought he was pulling my leg."

But he wasn't, and she quickly called 911 and got put some mud in a plastic bag with some ice where they were, at Bear Creek Cove.

An off-duty paramedic put her son in his truck, and asked what she'd done -- she said she'd put a tourniquet on his arm "so it would not spread."

The problem is, when you're out at Prineville Reservoir and you're bitten by a deadly snake, you don't have much time. So the ambulance driver called a Life Flight helicopter. And off they went.

"The helicopter ends up coming down and landing right in the parking lot of the Prineville Reservoir," recalled Amie.

The chopper flew the boy to St. Charles Bend, where hospital officials ordered Eithen on an Air Link plane flight to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. The clock was ticking.

The medical work on the plane began instantly. Eithen was still alert. "She put the IV in me and she took it out and I was bleeding, and I gave her this look (shakes his head)," he recalled.

"I started praying just, 'Keep your hands over him. Just heal him. Just protect him. Please just make sure that he's going to come home. He's going to come home. He's going to come home,'" said Aimie.

She said her prayers were answered -- and some very quick and thorough medical attention helped, too.

Eithen was back up on his feet Monday, eating chocolate cake and about to get discharged from Doernbecher late in the afternoon.

"What's the first thing you're going to do when you get out of the hospital?" we asked him. "Mostly keep inside. You have to keep your eye out for any snakes."

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