ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A 27-year-old Palm Coast man has been hospitalized after being bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake while shopping for a fern at a Walmart garden center.
Jeriel Joiner told the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office that he was bitten on his right pointer finger in the garden center at a Walmart store in St. Augustine. The snake was still holding on when he knocked it off. A Walmart employee killed the snake with a broom.
Joiner was hospitalized in the Flagler Hospital in serious condition on Wednesday
According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, doctors administered an antivenin, but Joiner had a severe allergic reaction. Joiner was given a number of allergy medicines to stop the reaction, and was moved to the intensive care unit
at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville.
Joiner's fiancee, Rhiannon Gross, said on Thursday the swelling that was once in just one finger had spread through his right hand and up his arm
Gross said the doctors gave them the option of taking the antivenin again as a slower pace and in diluted form, but that they would have to sign a waiver. They turned down the option
According to Gross, Joiner could get permanent nerve damage, arm paralysis and amputation. The couple is considering a lawsuit, saying Walmart did nothing to help them until an "elderly greeter" shooed the snake away.
He is the fourth person bitten since 2006 at the company's stores in Florida.
Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman in Bentonville, Ark., said the safety of customers and employees is a top priority. The garden center is closed while the company works to ensure it is safe.