A Norwegian exchange student is receiving international attention after being bitten by a snake and receiving a $143,000 hospital bill. The large figure stems from the use of two antivenin drugs that were used to save his life.
"My jaw was dropping down," Dag-Are Trydal told 10News. He was stunned to receive the large bill after being bitten by a rattlesnake. "I thought maybe $10,000," he estimated. In Norway, he noted, "it would have been free."
Trydal was walking back to his car when he felt a sudden pain.
"I stepped two steps back just immediately, and I was seeing that a snake was sitting right between my flip-flops. As I was walking over [to the nearby Scripps Hospital], my heart started thumping and I could feel a tingling in my body and a metallic taste in my mouth," he said.
He was treated with four doses of two separate antivenin drugs, one totaling $102,440 and another $25,610.
"This is way too much, at least for a person that doesn't have good insurance," Trydal explained.
A spokesperson for the hospital told 10News that Trydal's "insurance company has not yet paid the bill, and Scripps is in negotiations with the company for the final amount. The patient will not be billed by Scripps."
Trydal is grateful to be alive, though, especially in light of the death of a West Virginia preacher who practiced snake handling. Mark Randall Wolford, 44, died after a fatal rattlesnake bite. He had been bitten once before by a copperhead, but survived that ordeal.
"I don't think anyone necessarily expected it," Lauren Pond told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. She was one of 25 people who witnessed Wolford being bitten. "They've dealt with it before, so maybe it's not such a huge shock."
"A common misunderstanding is that handlers believe they can't get bit or it won't kill them," Ralph Hood, a religion professor, told NOLA.com. "This is how he would have wanted to die."