On a warm April afternoon, 3-year-old Tobias Flanner was helping his family clear brush near his Fort Scott home when he stumbled upon an angry copperhead snake.
“All of a sudden, Tobias was screaming and dancing away from something in the woods,” says his father Kevin Flanner, who has lived in Fort Scott all but eight years of his life.
Kevin killed the snake to evaluate its markings and protect his other three young children. Tobias was rescued by his older brother and looked over for any wounds. “We got him into the bathtub to clean the wound on his lower left leg and I immediately knew it was time to get help,” says Kevin.
Tobias' mom Stephanie called Ascension Via Christi’s Emergency Room in Fort Scott, which was just five minutes from their home.
“They were ready for us when we arrived and made sure Tobias was receiving the best care for his young body,” says Kevin. “The staff provided toys and distractions to keep him calm and we appreciated that so much.”
Tobias began showing symptoms of a classic copperhead bite: nausea, sweating, labored breathing and fever.
After consulting with experts at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Tobias was given Crofab, a common antivenom medication carried by most hospitals. He and his family were later transported to Children’s Mercy to receive further treatment and to be monitored in a kid-friendly facility.
He was discharged three days later and returned home, where he was then seen by primary care provider Katrina Burke, MD, days later. Tobias developed serum sickness, a common side effect of antivenom, almost two weeks after returning home and saw his doctor once again before fully healing.
“There was a lot of concern in our small town when Fort Scott Mercy was shut down,” says Kevin, adding that he has since shared widely with his friends and neighbors about their great experience and access to quality care.
“The ER staff didn’t try to do it without help to prove something,” says Kevin, who appreciated their willingness to collaborate with others to ensure the best possible care in the best possible place: close to home. “They are here for the community.”
What amazed him the most, says Kevin, was the generosity and carefulness of every associate involved in his son’s care. “For as traumatic as accidents can be, I am so grateful to have had the option of Ascension Via Christi and the Fort Scott ER.”
An example of the snake that bit Tobais Flanner.
The snake bite on Tobias' lower left leg.
Tobias being seen at Ascension Via Christi's Emergency Room in Fort Scott.
Tobias saying hi to the camera while being monitored.
Tobias playing and goofing around like the healthy boy he is now because of the close-to-home access to care.