Diabetic Dog Dies After Pharmacy Error

Elise and Nick Carter’s yellow labrador, Bailey, was diagnosed with diabetes on November 29, 2016. Since then, the family has been doing everything they can to keep their canine member happy and healthy, including buying the specific type of insulin their vet prescribed for him. But a pharmacy error appears to have cost Bailey his life, and the Carters are seeking redress.

It was at the pharmacy inside the Wood Village Walmart Supercenter where the error occurred. The Carters had their veterinarian call in the prescription for Novalin N insulin, but when they arrived to pick it up, a pharmacist counseled them to buy an over-the-counter medication called Novalin R instead.

The Carters were unaware that there was any difference between the two medications and were reportedly told that this medication would work just fine to manage Bailey’s condition. What they didn’t know, however, is that the Novalin R insulin was not as long-acting as the prescribed Novalin N, meaning that Bailey’s blood sugar spiked every day before his once-daily dose of insulin.

Photo: Unsplash/Hunter Thompson

“His health deteriorated severely, and he became unable to walk,” said the Carters’ Portland attorney, Richard Myers.

A few weeks after Bailey’s diagnosis, the family took him back to their veterinarian’s office to find out why he was struggling with weakness and failing health. The vet couldn’t find anything else wrong with the 10-year-old dog apart from his diabetes, so the Carters took him home again and did their best with the medication they had, not sure what else they could do.

A few weeks later, on January 11th, it was back to the pharmacy to get the insulin prescription refilled. It was then that the family was told the Novalin R they’d bought before was not the same medication as the Novalin N and that the difference in how long each medication lasted could have serious effects on Bailey’s health and even threaten his life.

Sadly, it was too late for Bailey, who passed away on February 14th, 2017. He was already too far gone for the new insulin to make much difference in his condition, and the couple and their three children were left without their best friend.

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Photo: Unsplash/Mitchell Griest

Now the Carters have filed a lawsuit at Multnomah County Circuit Court requesting $10,000 in compensation for Bailey’s treatment and hospitalization costs, travel expenses while seeking treatment, lost wages during the time spent caring for Bailey, and the cost of getting a new dog.

“We are sorry for the loss the family experienced,” said Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove. “We take this seriously and will respond to the allegations in court.”

No matter what happens in the courtroom, we can only hope that Bailey’s case is a reminder of how serious diabetes is and how carefully it should be treated, both in animals and in humans. It’s so important to do the proper research, get the right insulin, and use all devices and medications properly.

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