UPDATE: Child bitten by rattlesnake improves

Photograph courtesy Cyndi SpellMaisy Lamica, 5, recovers in a Florida hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake Friday.

VALDOSTA, Ga. — A child in South Georgia has made significant improvement this week recovering from a rattlesnake attack, her mother said Tuesday.

Maisy Lamica, 5, was bitten in a rural area of Georgia, Cyndi Spell, her mother, told The Valdosta (Georgia) Daily Times.

Spell said in a phone interview Monday that Maisy and her siblings were at their father’s house in Berrien County for a weekend visit when she and her older sister ran over to where a pet cat was against a tree. They did not realize the cat had cornered a rattlesnake.

“It lunged out and bit her several times,” Spell said.

Her father called 911 and Maisy was rushed to South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta; however, she went into anaphylactic shock — a severe allergic reaction to the snake’s venom — in the ambulance, her mother said.

SGMC life-flighted her to Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, because the Valdosta hospital doesn’t have a pediatric intensive care unit, Spell said.

Spell has been with Maisy at Shands ever since.

At Shands, Maisy had been given 37 vials of antivenin as of Monday afternoon. Spell said the leg where the girl was bitten was the doctors’ biggest concern, having swollen so much they were considering opening her leg to relieve the pressure.

In a Facebook posting Tuesday, Spell said Maisy’s lab work looked good and that her leg swelling had gone down. “Overall, we shouldn’t be here much longer,” she said.

Maisy’s siblings — a sister, 8, and a pair of brothers, aged 9 and 7 — aren’t old enough to understand what’s going on, their mother said on the phone.

“They don’t understand why she’s (in Shands), why she has all the tubes,” Spell said.

Maisy had only recently graduated from kindergarten at North Brooks Elementary School.

“She’s going to make it,” her mother said. “It’s going to take a long time, but she’s going to make it.”

One of Spell’s friends set up a GoFundMe account Monday morning for Maisy to help the family. The original goal was $5,000, but that was surpassed Monday, so the goal was bumped up to $20,000. As of Tuesday evening, the account had gathered more than $7,300 in donations.

The GoFundMe account for Maisy can be found at https://gofund.me/d5a19293.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times, Valdosta, Georgia.

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