Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Snake-bite victim feared he'd die in Costa Rica

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VANCOUVER -- A British Columbia man bitten by a poisonous snake in Costa Rica is convinced that if he hadn't returned to Vancouver for health care, his children would be attending his funeral.

Sixty-one-year-old Michael Lovatt, of Robert's Creek on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast, didn't see a snake the whole month he was in the Central American country -- including the one that bit him the night before he was expected to leave for home.

He visited a hospital in Costa Rica where doctors took an X-ray, gave him painkillers and sent him on his way.

But by the time he got off the plane in B.C. Tuesday morning, the swelling from his foot had reached his thigh, and he headed directly to Vancouver General Hospital.

He neared tears during a telephone conference call with the media, saying the situation was very scary and at one point he believed he was going to die.

Doctors in Vancouver determined he'd been bitten by a poisonous snake and found a stock of antidote at Woodland Zoo in Seattle, Wash.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 A23

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