Man Dies After Rattlesnake Bite

By Brian Entin

HOBE SOUND, FL (WPTV) — Family members say 76-year-old Richard Flora was bitten by an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Thursday in Hobe Sound. He later died from the bite.

“We knew something was not right. He was having all the symptoms … a rapid heart rate, sweating, and vomiting,” Flora’s daughter Ellen Willson said.

Wilson says Flora was outside near the front of their home when he was bitten.

Flora was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. He was rushed to Jupiter Medical Center where there is antivenom available.

“The doctor said we can’t give him the antivenom unless the family wants us to do that. So we had a huge decision to make,” Wilson said.

Flora’s daughters say they recently signed a “do not resuscitate order.”

“If we asked him…would you rather die from Alzheimer’s…which he hated…or would you rather die from a snake bite…I guarantee my father would have chosen the snake bite,” Wilson said.

Wilson says she knew they didn’t have much time, so she contacted her sisters.

“When my sister called and said she had to make a decision and only had a few minutes, my first response was ‘no, no, no. Don’t let him die.’ But my husband and I prayed about it and thought ‘why do we want to keep him here? He will now go to heaven,’ ” Brenda Wetherald said.

Family members say Flora died about eleven hours after the bite.

“We prayed about it and felt like God let this happen so my father could die with dignity,” Wilson said.

A family member shot the snake and brought it to the hospital so doctors could confirm it was a rattlesnake.

They think Richard Flora, even in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, may have been instinctively trying to kill the snake because they found a brick nearby.

A funeral for Flora will be held on Tuesday.