Las Cruces registered nurse defends patient from a venomous rattlesnake by beheading it

Las Cruces News

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – A registered nurse in Las Cruces went above and beyond her duty after she helped protect her patient from a venomous rattlesnake that was inside his home.

Christy Chapman is an RN Case Manager and she talked with KTSM 9 News about the incident.

Chapman said she was visiting a patient at his home and was about to leave the residence when she heard a noise while walking down the dark hallway of the patient’s home. At first, Chapman said she thought it was a mouse, but when she shined a light on where the noise was coming from that’s when she saw a rattlesnake and heard its rattle.

Chapman said the rattlesnake began to hiss at her and that’s when she said she knew she had to act quickly before the snake tried to bite her or her patient.

Chapman alerted the homeowner about the snake and during that time the venomous reptile had moved from the hallway and into the patient’s bedroom. Chapman said she grabbed a spade and hit the rattlesnake over the head. Chapman said she then sliced off the snake’s head with a butcher knife after getting permission from the patient.

“I grabbed the head by the fangs with the butcher knife and we put it in a bag to dispose of it. I told him we needed to bury it, but I wasn’t going in the backyard after that, not that late,” Chapman said.

Chapman told KTSM 9 News she’s had experience handling snakes since she was young and knew how to dispose of the animal.

She believes the rattlesnake came into the patient’s home after he left his backdoor open to keep the house cool. She believes the patient has now learned his lesson from the incident.

“He was very grateful because he has a fear of snakes and then with it being dark in his house, he has low vision and the house was dark because he doesn’t have good lighting,” Chapman said.

Chapman told KTSM 9 News that she isn’t letting the snake go to waste. She said that she plans to skin and eat the rest of the snake. Chapman said even though the snake is venomous if a person cooks it well enough the venom cooks out.

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