Mark Durrance, age 12 had been out one February afternoon in SW Florida shooting his BB gun. Jumping a ditch, Mark landed something that seemed to roll under the pressure of his foot. Instantly, he felt an explosion of pain. The massive head of an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake was plastered across his foot. His dog Bobo attacked the snake several times before the diamondback finally let loose its grip from the boy’s shoe.
One hundred and fifty yards from his house, Mark realized he couldn’t even move, the pain was overpowering. He felt weak all over and everything began to get fuzzy. Though Mark did not know it, the rattlesnake’s fangs had injected a massive amount of venom directly into a vein. The poison was racing thru his body, launching multiple attacks upon his respiratory system, his heart, his body’s ability to clot blood. It would take a miracle for the boy to cover the 150 yards over rough terrain and then mount the steps to his door.
At the hospital, sometime later, “the boy had quit breathing on his own,” said Dr. Michael Nycum. “He was practically dead.”
Over the next 8 hours, four doctors and batter of nurses worked ceaselessly over Mark. “His whole cardiovascular system was on the brink of collapse,” says Dr. Nycum. “And then his kidneys shut down.” The venom prevented Mark’s blood from clotting – causing internal hemorrhaging. All this was complicated by the failure of his respiratory system. “For the first 12 to 14 hours, the only thing the little guy had going for him was his heart, and that was under tremendous stress,” says Dr. Nycum. Medically speaking, there was no realistic chance of saving the boy’s life.
“Usually, in such a dramatic case, we begin to see some turnaround within a couple of hours, or we lose the battle,” says Dr. Nycum. “We didn’t see this with Mark. He was as critical after 8 hours as he was when we first saw him.”
Over a period of four days, Mark was in Coma from which he recovered on the fourth day. Throughout that period, the mother never left the hospital, praying over her son and comforting him: “He may have been in a coma, but I believed he might hear my words to him and to God.”
On the fourth day, when he did recover, he told his parents of an extraordinary event that took place in the desolate field – an occurrence that harks to the Old Testament stirring accounts of men and angels.
Mark explained with perfect composure about a white-robed figure who appeared just when he knew that he could not walk the distance to the house. The figure took him in his arms and carried him across the field and up the steps.
“I know it was God,” Mark said. “He had a deep voice. I felt calm. He picked me up and carried me all the way. He told me that I was going to be sick but not to worry, that I would make it. Then he went up into the sky. The last thing I remember was opening the door to our house.”