Man's 'Insane' Bill After Treatment for Rattlesnake Bite Shocks Viewers

Commenters were shocked when an anonymous user posted his friend's medical bills totaling $244,995 after he was treated for a rattlesnake bite.

The anonymous poster, known as u/guylikestoast, published the billing statement to Reddit's popular "Thats Insane" forum where it received over 23,000 upvotes and 3,000 comments. The post can be found here.

Venomous Vipers

"Rattlesnakes are found in almost every part of the continental United States, but they're especially common in the Southwest," according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Man billed over $240,000 after rattlesnake bite
A person went viral after sharing that their friend was billed more than $240,000 to treat their rattlesnake bite. Shoemcfly/iStock

Known for their large size and unique head shape, rattlesnakes are named after the "rattle" located at the tip of their tail which makes a noise when it shakes.

These venomous vipers are also infamous for releasing an extremely potent venom.

While an untreated rattlesnake bite can be fatal, death is uncommon in many areas including the United States since antivenom is widely distributed.

The Treatment Plan

Rattlesnake bites, much like any other venomous snake bites, require immediate medical attention, with experts saying it is ideal to reach medical help within the first 30 minutes since the venom immediately enters the bloodstream.

There are several ways to minimize the risks of a rattlesnake bite while waiting for medical treatment or an ambulance. Experts recommend trying to stay still, letting the wound bleed, and keeping the wound below the heart to avoid venom from getting to the heart.

However, there are plenty of misconceptions about how to treat a rattlesnake bite such as sucking the venom out yourself—which can result in venom entering the mouth and bacteria entering the wound, according to Healthline.

Experts also advise against washing the wound or applying a tourniquet, recommending instead that victims prioritize seeking medical attention immediately.

The Bill

"A friend of mine recently got bit by a rattlesnake while on an evening hike," the viral post read.. "This was his bill from the hospital. He doesn't think his crappy insurance will cover much of it (U.S.)."

The image attached showed a billed amount of more than $244,000 but since it was recent, it was still unclear how much the person would owe or if insurance would cover the costs.

Although antivenom is accessible in the U.S., sometimes the vials can cost upwards of $100,000, according to UNC Health's pharmacy team.

Why is Antivenom Expensive?

The VIPER Institute's research reported a breakdown of the price of the antivenom:

  • Cost to manufacture the antivenom: 10 percent of the sticker price.
  • Licensing fees legal costs: About 28 percent of the cost.
  • Hospital markups, which they say are generally discounted by health insurers for patients with coverage: About 70 percent of the cost.

Redditor Reactions

More than 3,300 users commented on the post, many wondering why the treatment for a snake bite was so steep.

"I'd love to see the breakdown of that amount billed, what can possibly amount to $200k+ for treating a snake bite. Is the antidote made from moon dust or something?" one user commented.

"Tell the friend to ask for an itemized bill. That sometimes lowers it because they calculate things and break it down more," one user commented.

"It sounds like the snake is liable. Lawyer up Greg," another user joked.

"If this was in Denmark, we don't have rattlesnakes though, the total hospital bill would amount to $0."

"In return we do have the luxury of paying the highest taxes in the world," another user commented.

Newsweek reached out to u/guylikestoast for comment.

Snake Bite News

Since the snakes are "found in almost every part of the continental United States," news of bites comes from both directions.

On July 4, a 3-year-old California child was bit by a rattlesnake while walking around their own driveway.

Another child, a 7-year-old Florida boy nearly died after he was bitten by a venomous water moccasin on June 14, and a child in Colorado just died after being bit by a rattlesnake during a bike ride.

And in April, a man was rushed to the hospital after being bit five times by a rattlesnake after he went surfing.