(BARTLESVILLE, Okla.) — Ten people at an Oklahoma care facility for people with intellectual disabilities were hospitalized after they were apparently accidentally injected with what’s believed to be insulin rather than flu shots, authorities said.
Emergency responders were called Wednesday afternoon to the Jacquelyn House in Bartlesville, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Tulsa, on a report of an unresponsive person and found “multiple unresponsive people,” Bartlesville Police Chief Tracy Roles said.
The facility had contracted with an experienced pharmacist to administer the influenza vaccine, Roles said, but all received injections of what’s believed to be insulin instead. Roles said the pharmacist is cooperating with police but that investigators believe it was an accident.
The eight residents and two staff members were taken to a Bartlesville hospital, and officials said that all have either been released or will be soon.
“I’ve never seen where there’s been some sort of medical misadventure to this magnitude,” Roles said. “It could have been worse. Not to downplay where we are, but thinking of where we could be, it certainly could have been very tragic.”
A similar mishap occurred in September in Indianapolis, when 16 students were mistakenly injected with insulin during a tuberculosis skin test.
Insulin is typically administered to someone with diabetes, a disease in which blood sugar levels are too high. The side effects of a too high injection of insulin includes sweating, nervousness, hunger and irritability, according to the Mayo Clinic.