Autopsy to Reveal if Man Died From Snake Bite or Drugs

Autopsy to Reveal if Man Died From Snake Bite or Drugs

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LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- Toxicology tests are pending to determine whether the death of a 31-year-old Layton man was from a rattlesnake bite or related to drugs.

Jason Floyd was bitten June 1 while gardening in his mother's back yard. He sought treatment from area hospitals, but was found dead on his bed June 3.

The initial autopsy report by the state medical examiner's office listed the cause of death as "suspicious snakebite," but that cannot be confirmed until toxicology tests are completed in six weeks, the man's mother, Linda Floyd, said.

However, Layton Police Lt. Quinn Moyes said, "We definitely don't think a snakebite played a role.

"In the interest of public safety, we have to let people know that we don't believe there is a snake wandering around out there that has bitten and killed someone," Moyes said. "That is why we have to wait for the completed toxicology report to be done."

Rattlesnake bites in Utah are uncommon and deaths resulting from bites are rare. According to the state Division of Wildlife Resources there are four known rattlesnake fatalities in Utah: three in the 1930s and one in the 1980s.

Relatives said the snake struck Jason Floyd's left hand. He pulled the snake away and walked into the home he shared with his mother and grandmother, Elaine Lindsey. Lindsey said she could see the blood running from the puncture wounds.

He went to Davis Hospital and Medical Center, where he was told it was a "dry bite" with no venom and he was treated and released, Linda Floyd said. Davis Hospital officials could not be reached for comment.

The man returned home and called Davis County emergency dispatch after his hand started going numb and his arm was swelling. A dispatcher told him to go to McKay-Dee Hospital.

At McKay-Dee, he was diagnosed with a rattlesnake bite and given five vials of antivenin, hospital records show. He was transferred by ambulance to Salt Lake's University of Utah Health Sciences Center, where he spent the night.

The following afternoon, he called his mother to tell her he was being transferred to the hospital's trauma unit, but then he called 15 minutes later to say he was coming home.

He arrived home late Monday afternoon, still dressed in hospital pajamas.

"His speech was slurred; his skin was white and waxy looking," Linda Floyd said. She does not know how he reached home; she does not know why he was released from the hospital.

He fell asleep on his downstairs bed, and when Linda walked into his room to awaken him Tuesday morning, he was dead.

Hospital officials refused to comment, citing federal law prohibiting the release of information on patients.

Layton police said they found painkillers in the man's room.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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