U.S. News


Hospital Charges Man $150K To Treat Rattlesnake Bite

A hospital charged a San Diego man more than $150,000 to treat his rattlesnake bite.
Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 27, 2015

"My whole body was shaking. It was gyrating. ... He literally paralyzed my whole body," Todd Fassler told KGTV

That's Todd Fassler. A San Diego man who was bitten by a rattlesnake he was trying to take a selfie with earlier this month.

But it's not the fact he was bitten that's gaining attention. It's how much he was charged for the treatment of that snake bite. 

KGTV reporter tweeted that Fassler was charged more than $150,000. 

Venomous snake bites aren't extremely rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as many as 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year. But Newsy's partners at KGTV report there's one very specific reason Fassler's bill was so high. 

"The price of antivenin. An average bite requires 12 vials," a KGTV reporter said. 

"Right now, vials cost about $5,000 a piece to the patient," Dr. Richard Clark from UCSD's Poison Control Center said.

There's currently only one U.S. producer of antivenin, and The Washington Post reports that company, CroFab, reported $98 million in earnings for the last fiscal year. 

"When there's only one producer, their prices tend to be higher. ... Once there's several different companies, the price usually comes down," Clark told KGTV.

Now Fassler does have insurance. KGTV reports his insurance company and the hospital are currently determining how much of that $150,000 bill he'll need to pay. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.