Snake Bite Victim Gets $55K Hospital Bill

A former EMT pulled over along George Washington Parkway for a breath of fresh air was bitten by a copperhead snake -- and then slapped with a $55,000 hospital bill.

Jules Weiss stopped by an overlook for a breather when she felt a strange sensation.

"It felt like a bad bee sting," Weiss said. "I got to my car, turned on the light and there were two fang marks with liquid coming out."

Within an hour, her foot started to balloon, turning a "grayish" color. Weiss made her way to an emergency room in Bethesda, Md. where she stayed for more than 18 hours -- getting three IV bags of anti-venom into her foot.

As if the experience wasn't scarring enough, Weiss received a hospital bill for nearly $55,000.

"I kind of went numb... I don't know if there's a way to process that," Weiss said.

While insurance can bring treatment cost down to a few hundred dollars, Weiss' insurance had just lapsed. Anti-venom is made through a lengthy process of milking many snakes, making treatment pricey. It even reached $780,000 for one woman's cure.

According to officials at the Bethesda hospital Weiss went to, it can cost them $40,000 or more to obtain anti-venom. Many hospitals have financial counselors that can help with payment plans -- contact your social services agency for more information.

Consumers can also submit bill complaints to the Maryland Attorney General's Health Education and Advocacy Unit.

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