Aidan Pankey had his pet rat just two weeks before it killed him. Less than 48 hours after showing flu-like symptoms, the 10-year-old boy tragically died in his grandmother’s bedroom while she called 911. How did this happen?
All Aidan Pankey wanted was a companion for his pet rat, Oreo. So when his grandmother bought him a second rat, she figured it was harmless. Less than two weeks later her grandson was dead, and now she claims that the second pet rat is to blame.
Aidan Pankey Bit By Pet — Dies From Rat Bite Fever
When Aidan Pankey began experiencing flu-like symptoms, his grandmother Sharon Pankey summed it up to just that — the flu. After a day at the doctor’s office, Sharon found Aidan in his room unable to speak and having trouble getting up on his feet. By the time she got him downstairs to her bedroom, he collapsed on the floor and had trouble breathing. Sharon called 911 immediately, but it was too late. Emergency responders tried resuscitating Aidan before pronouncing his death.
Aidan’s family was skeptical when doctors said that he died from the flu. “You don’t die from flu in less than 48 hours,” the boy’s grandmother pointed out in an interview with USA Today. Six months later , at Christmas, the medical examiner informed the family that Aidan had actually died of an infectious disease: Rat Bite Fever. The infection is often caused by at least two different types of bacteria, and when not treated becomes fatal. It is spread by infected rodents and the consumption of contaminated food or water.
Family Suing Petco Over Infected Ret
Once the family was informed about the infection that killed Aidan, they lawyered up and filed a lawsuit against Petco. Sharon had purchased Aidan’s second pet rat at their local Petco, and the family is suing them for their negligence in testing animals regularly before selling them to the public.
Petco quickly released a statement about the incident: “We are deeply saddened by the Pankey family’s tragic loss. The health and safety of people and pets is always our top priority and we take the family’s concerns very seriously. We are investigating the claims and will respond when we have more information.”
— Lauren Cox