If hikers hadn’t already heard, they learned the news shortly after hitting the trail at Mt. Galbraith Park on Sunday.
“We actually got a text in the middle of the hike from a friend that said beware, there was a rattlesnake bite and a death,” said hiker Nicole Malo.
Daniel Hohs, 31, was bitten by a rattlesnake while hiking with a friend at Mt. Galbraith on Saturday afternoon, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.
Golden Gate Fire, Golden Fire, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and JeffCo Open Space responded to the scene.
First responders hiked about a mile and a half just to get to Hohs. He was taken by ambulance to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood where he later died.
The Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center said there are about 20 to 30 snake bites reported every year in Colorado. Nationwide, four to five people die from snake bites each year.
“The death rate is extremely small,” said Dr. Gary Garyfallou.
Garyfallou is an emergency room physician who was working at St. Anthony Sunday when Hohs was brought in for treatment. Garyfallou has treated snake bite victims before, including a 14-year-old boy at Avista Adventist Hospital last year.
He said the seriousness of a snake bite depends on the amount of venom that makes its way into the body and whether a patient has a history of health problems like diabetes or heart disease.
“You’re getting a poison into your system directly, so if you have more illnesses onboard, the more likelihood you have of something bad happening,” Garyfallou explained.
He said he sees only a few snakebites a year, typically on warm, summer days. His advice to those who’ve been bitten by a rattlesnake is simple – call 911 and get to a hospital.
“Getting to a hospital as soon as possible does make a difference because we have antivenom and we can resuscitate quickly,” Garyfallou said.
That technique you’ve seen in the movies of cutting the bite wound and sucking out the venom does not work, Garyfallou said. The doctor said other methods of treatment in the field like elevating a bitten limb or applying a tourniquet are not very effective. The sooner you can see a doctor and receive antivenom, the better.
On Sunday, hikers at Mt. Galbraith Park steered clear of a small rattlesnake on the trail.
“People were warning others about the rattlesnake on the trail and everybody was carrying their dogs past,” Nicole Malo said.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office said Sunday afternoon the cause and manner of Daniel Hohs’ death are pending further investigation.