Mother says son still recovering, but improving after rattlesnake bite

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The mother of an 8-year-old boy bitten by a rattlesnake at Wannamaker Park last month says her son is slowly making a recovery.

"He was not well when he came in. They had to resuscitate him," said Elizabeth Szala, Zach Szala's mother. "He wasn't there, so he's come a long way."

Zach Szala was bitten by a timber rattlesnake on Nov. 23. His mother says Zach was facing organ failure. He was unconscious and partially paralyzed.

After receiving about 40 vials of anti-venom over several weeks, Elizabeth Szala says her son started showing signs of improvement and was able to open his eyes and whisper.

"He said 'hey' and 'water,' and he was really thirsty," Szala said.

She says her son is improving every day, but it's been a long, difficult recovery. At times, she said it has been hard to stay positive.

"There are no words," Szala said. "I do better if I step back even for 30 minutes, and then I can see the improvement. But when you're there every day, it's hard."

Zach Szala was bitten by the snake during a visit to Wannamaker Park when he ran off the path and accidentally jumped on the rattlesnake.

His mother says he is fully aware of what happened to him and remembers being bitten.

"He's had incredibly good spirits, amazing perseverance and he's shocked everyone with how willing he is to get better," Elizabeth Szala said.

Szala said he is starting to eat on his own, and his internal organs are stable. His face is still partially paralyzed, but Szala said she is hoping he can spend Christmas at home with his family. Doctors haven't confirmed, though, if that will be possible.

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