Man in hospital after being bitten by rattlesnake in North Port

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A man bitten by a rattlesnake in North Port last weekend is recovering at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Earl Hjertstedt said he was surveying the area near Cool Today Park in the woods behind the field, when the rattlesnake attacked him. He spoke from his hospital bed on Wednesday.

“At least I’m here, I didn’t lose my leg, so I have to count my blessings,” said Hjertstedt.

He said he’s grateful to be alive. Bruised and bandaged, the bite almost cost him his leg.

“This was only one puncture from one snake, fang. It’s amazing what just one fang can do,” he said.

Hjertstedt was walking through the woods near the Atlanta Braves spring training facility in North Port.

“Felt like a slap on my leg. At that point, I kind of did some high stepping.”

He screamed for help and was rushed to the nearest hospital by co-workers. His wife, Diahanna, was on her way.

“So at this point I said, is he awake, is he conscious and they said, yes he is and I said okay, I’ll just meet you there,” she said.

He was eventually transferred to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where the bite was treated. He may have to go through therapy to walk again.

“They took away all my muscle. I have drop foot, so I’ll no longer be able to raise my foot up,” said Hjertstedt.

But despite the pain, both are excited for their blessing arriving any day.

Hjertstedt is happy he’ll be there for the birth.

“We don’t know the sex of the baby so we’d really hate for him to miss that,” said his wife, Diahanna.

Hjertstedt is expected to have another surgery on Thursday.

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