5-year-old girl receives 16 doses of antivenom after rattlesnake bite

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A 5-year-old girl is recovering at Dell Children’s Medical Center Sunday night after she was bitten by a rattlesnake in the Hill Country on Saturday.

Emily Rose Oehler was playing by the picnic area at Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet County when a western diamondback rattlesnake struck her on the ankle.

“I just saw her flying around the corner and she was screaming, ‘Snake!’” said her mother, Alicia Oehler. “She ran so fast that her jacket flew off.”

Hoover Valley EMS arrived within minutes and took her to a hospital in Burnet where she was met by a rescue helicopter.

STARFlight transported Emily Rose to Dell Children’s Medical Center where she has been treated with 16 doses of antivenom medication so far. “I’m just terrified. I hope that the anti-venom just takes, you know,” said Oehler.

Emily Rose is doing well, but her parents say she is still in a lot of pain.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department told 24-Hour News 8’s sister station KXAN it’s unusual for rattlesnakes to strike in the cooler months. “It’s extremely unusual for any snake to be out right now,” said Tim Elmore with Texas Parks & Wildlife Law Enforcement, “Usually they’re pretty lethargic and kind of hibernating right now.”

Emily Rose’s mom says her kids did hear a rattle. She wanted to immediately see what kind of snake bit her daughter so she could tell EMS. She said she wanted to make sure the right anti-venom would be given. She never spotted the snake.

As their daughter recovers Emily Rose’s family is hoping to warn other parents to be aware of their surroundings. They had gone hiking at Longhorn Cavern many times, “there’s a good little trail there. It’s easy for the kids – it was just gonna be something to get them out of the house and let them run around there for a little while,” said Oehler.

They don’t have insurance and are not able to take paid leave from work while they stay with her at the hospital. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the anti-venom and hospital expenses.