COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It’s been an arduous journey to surrender for Lindsey Currat.
The Colorado Springs mother prayed for five days while her son was under the care of trauma doctors, begging God to heal him and perform a miracle. But nothing she could do would cure his pain and help her understand the complexities of life support and death.
What happened to her 6-year-old son, Simon, early last month could be considered mysterious or bizarre to some.
"People don’t die from rattlesnake bites. Just the fact that he immediately collapsed is strange to me," she said.
Simon was just about to start first grade. The days of pre-school were in the past, and he had recently graduated into an elementary class at Sunday school. He also boasted at the chance to flash his toothless smile as his baby teeth started to shed.
"He was proud of all those things," his mother vividly remembers.
Simon was like most typical kids his age. His backyard was his workshop, as his imagination would run as wild as his energy. He sometimes used old gutters as waterways or tracks for his Hot Wheels. And he loved to plant fruit in the yard, hoping that someday it would grow into abundant trees.
But this world of creativity and creation would be short-lived following a run-in with a rattlesnake, sending him into cardiac arrest and leaving him in a coma.
Simon's last word
The adventurous second-born of four set out on July 5 for a late afternoon bicycle ride after dinner. He would tag along with his father, who was carting Simon’s 3-year-old sister in a bike seat across the Bluestem Prairie Open Space in Colorado Springs.
Simon loved to explore the wilderness area with his dad as they could off-road the dirty, narrow paths dodging branches to the face and splashing in the occasional puddle.
"It’s rugged, and Simon had told my husband that he loved it because it was like a video game only in real life," Currat said.
On this particular adventure, Simon decided to run ahead to look at a mile marker sign on the trail they were exploring during a stop for water.
"Rattlesnake!" he yelled in fear back to his dad. Simon then collapsed and turned purple.
Simon’s father was left helpless as he rushed to his son’s aid. No one else was on the trail, and he could not call for help because he had left his phone at home.
With his son wrapped in his arms, the father and daughter ran through the field, hoping over a barbwire fence to the nearest residential neighborhood, screaming for help. A dog walker would soon rush to their aid and call 911, staying with them until help arrived.
Simon’s breathing turned shallow as paramedics worked to intubate him before leaving for the hospital.
"Looking back, that was a huge failure," Currat said. "You could have been driving in those 10 minutes instead of repeatedly trying to intubate him and not being successful."
Simon was in cardiac arrest for over 20 minutes as first responders worked to resuscitate him.
Doctors treated him with anti-venom and blood products, all while in a coma. Simon’s vitals would continue to drop as his situation turned dire hours after the bite.
'I never gave up'
An air ambulance transferred him to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs, but there was little to no improvement while he was on life support.
"At that point, they had even already told us that after suffering that amount of cardiac arrest, he probably wouldn’t survive," Currat said.
Simon was now in complete kidney failure, and the hospital said they could not help treat him. Transferred by helicopter, again, Simon would spend his finals days at the Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, where dialysis was underway.
"No one ever really gave us any hope that they thought he would survive," Currat said. "I never gave up on my belief that God could do a miracle, and that God can bring him back."
Multiple tests would determine there was no life left in his brain, and Simon’s family made the ultimate and painful decision.
"The doctors weren’t going to be able to heal him, and he was in God’s hands," Simon’s mother cried. "If God wanted to do a miracle, he could. And if God wanted to take him, he could."
Simon passed peacefully in his parents’ arms on July 10.
The Currats not only lost a wonderful son, but their other three children lost a best friend, and "the world lost a beautiful, faith-filled soul," the family stated in Simon's obituary.
"I believe that I’m going to see him again one day when I have to cross that threshold of death. God will also raise me from the dead in Heaven, and I’ll get to be with my son again," Currat said.
As the family suffers their loss, they ask others to think wisely about their life because no one is guaranteed tomorrow.
"I don’t know that people need to be horribly afraid of rattlesnakes other than they just need to be horribly afraid of what are they going to do when they die," Currat said. "Are you going to meet Jesus or not? No one gets a free pass on this world."
The Currat family is no stranger to tragic medical events. Simon was a loving brother to his older 8-year-old sister who uses a wheelchair. She was born prematurely due to being in distress in utero and suffered a brain injury that left her blind, non-verbal and tube fed from birth.
She suffered a sustained seizure at home on the same day Simon was bitten and was taken to the same hospital her brother was admitted. They were walls apart for two days in the final journey of Simon's life.
Over $63,000 has been raised so far to help the Currat family cover medical and funeral costs. Click here if you would like to donate.
The support the family has received from the community has been overwhelming, but it’s something Simon’s mom wishes she never had. Those who heard the news have sent cards from multiple states and churches the family has never attended.
"I would give all of the cards, the flowers, the money and the support. I’d give it all back if I could have my son. But it’s pretty amazing that people love my family," Currat said.
Death by rattlesnake bite is extremely rare
Venomous snakes found in the U.S. include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and coral snakes.
The most recent fatal rattlesnake bite in Colorado before Simon's happened in 2017 when a 31-year-old man died after being bitten near Golden, the Coloradoan reports. It's estimated the state sees around 200 rattlesnake bites annually.
Each year, about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S, and about 5 of those people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths would be much higher if people did not seek medical care, the nation’s top public health agency said.
For those bitten by rattlesnakes, 10–44% will have lasting injuries. An example of a disability or permanent injury is the ability to use a finger or losing part or all of it.
Most bites occur between the months of April and October when snakes and humans are most active outdoors, the U.S. Forest Service reports. And about 1 in 4 of the bites are "dry," meaning no venom was injected, but the bites still require medical treatment.
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