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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sue For Emotion?

It happens from time to time that people will threaten to sue for one problem or another.  Here in the US, as well as in many parts of the Western world, there are people that are ready to jump into the legal system to solve their problems.  Often, this is because of money rather than a true need for justice.  When human medical malpractice settlements and judgements can easily be in the millions of dollars, it's easy to see why some people would be tempted.  But it is quite different in veterinary malpractice claims. 

Pets are considered a special kind of property by the legal system.  Due to this status, a pet owner can only sue for the actual value of the "property" and any medical costs incurred.  For a breeding animal this dollar figure can be in the thousands of dollars due to lost potential revenue.  For a stray it may be less than $100.  Currently people cannot sue for emotional damages due to the loss of the pet, similar to how they cannot sue for emotional damages due to the loss of a car or television.  But this attitude may be changing.

Over the last century the status of pets has changed.  We have allowed them into our homes, families, and beds, and now consider them a part of our extended family.  We have closer bonds to them in ways that were very uncommon 100 years ago.  Our emotional ties have grown as our societies have moved from rural to urban and we have brought our pets in closer contact to our daily lives.  These stronger bonds mean that we often feel the loss even more acutely.  The loss of a pet can generate genuine emotional distress.

And vets are encouraging this.  We celebrate that human-pet bond, calling pets "furry children" and the owners "parents".  In my own practice we delierately call our patients "pets" rather than "animals" to help enhance and recognize this bond.  As medical professionals, we want our clients to care about their pets as much as they do about their children, and get upset when the people don't seem to care as much as we think they should.  Many vets and pet stores sell clothing and other things for pets that make them seem like little people.

As vets we have very low malpractice insurance costs.  I have to pay less than $300 per year to get a $1 million coverage policy.  The same level of insurance for a human physician can be anywhere from $20-40,000 per year.  Someone in a higher risk field such as obstetrics may have to pay $100,000 to get adequate coverage.  Truthfully this has become a crisis in human medicine.  There are more and more doctors getting out of higher-risk fields and specialties due to the outrageous insurance costs.  Doctors are also leaving certain parts of the countries where the courts have historically allowed extremely high settlements.  And a large part of the reason why human health care is so expensive is due to the multi-million dollar settlements and the insurance necessary to cover the doctors.

Now here is the dilemma.  As veterinarians we see what has happened in the human field, and don't want that to happen to us. We pay literally 1/100th of the insurance costs of human doctors, and we don't have to deal with outrageous lawsuits.  Yet we want people to have strong emotional ties with their pets and strongly promote these bonds.  In essence we want to have our cake and eat it to.  We want people to be emotionally attached to their pets but don't want them to be able to sue for damage to this bond. It is also hard for the pet owners, because if we have to start paying higher malpractice insurance costs, these costs will be passed on to the consumer, meaning higher charges on veterinary services.  It also means that we are going to need to be running more diagnostic tests to cover ourselves much like human physicians have to do.

And that brings me to last month's survey.  I asked if pet owners should be able to sue for pain and suffering even if it increased the costs of medical care.  And it seems like people aren't really sure. There was an even split for and against the idea, with 27% each.  And 44% simply didn't know.  As you can see this is a complicated issue.  If people can sue for emotional suffering for themselves or their pets, medical costs will rise. Yet the courts recognize awards for similar suffering in humans, and we are encouraging such bonds and ties with pets.


There are already movements in certain districts in the US to allow pain and suffering awards, though so far only up to a few thousand dollars.  As pets become more integral in our lives, we will likely see this legal trend continue.  And if it does, expect to pay more at your vet.

22 comments:

  1. There has been a study done showing that the cost increase to your clients would be negligible. I am positive one of my fellow commenters will leave that link for you and your readers very soon as I don't have time at this moment to hunt down the link. In the meantime, read Stempy's story by clicking on my name.

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  2. The suing is not for the emotion, it is for the unneccessary emotional abuse and emotional distress caused by bad vet who out right abuse and mistreat animals. This happened in my case: my cat had 28 of teeth removed by a vet who claimed to be a dental specialist. After the surgery and a feeding tube in her neck for 3 months I found he was not a dental specialist and didn't hold the qualifications to advise me to have this procedure. In addition he refused to allow me to visit my cat for 12 days and he realeased my confidential medical information to numerous people. Am I suing for emotional distress? YOU BET I AM. How would you feel if this happened to your child? Same thing!My lawsuit has nothing to do with the money...it has to do with holding this monster accountable for his abuse of my cat AND me.

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  3. My 20-year-old dying, dehydrated, anemic, hypokalemic, hyperphosphotemic CRF cat was put in an induction box and gassed with nitrous oxide and halothane with no presurgical lab work, no preanesthetic evaluation, no IV fluids (despite a notation of "v. dehydrated" by this "doctor"), and worst of all, no authorization by me because the creep couldn't even be bothered to notify me what he was about to do to MY cat and get my input. He just went ahead and did it. Not a single one of those diagnoses (except for "v. dehydrated") appears on her two-page patient chart representing almost three years of "care." Astoundingly, she lived through it, but you can imagine what anesthesia did to a cat with a history of CNS disorder (which he knew about). Four second opinion vets tried to save her, for which I will always be grateful. She died a week later. There was no way to get back the weeks and months that were lost while she went without proper treatment (but being injected with Depo Medrol and dex).

    My most precious companion was put through this HELL without this "doctor" ever diagnosing her properly (look at her records on my site and see if this qualifies as adequate recordkeeping). Just stuck her in a box, gassed her, extracted a tooth, hand scaled her teeth, shot her up with dexamethasone and then left her in a cage to die without so much as a phone call. I called when so much time had gone by without a word and when I found out she had gotten NO IV fluids, I got in the car and flew over there. He kept us waiting an HOUR while I watched my cat drag herself across the floor with her back legs completely useless. He then shrugged and said to take her home and "be with her" and "Don't put her in a hospital! It's cold and impersonal and you don't want it to happen that way!" Her chart of that day, when I finally saw it, had "multiple organ shutdown" in his handwriting and CIRCLED by him. My cat was dying, and he did all of the above to her.

    Two punchlines to this horror story: The vet got away with everything at the state board level despite every piece of evidence that proved what he had done, including keeping the crappiest records imaginable, and then five years later he came after me with a lawsuit and an injunction in a 2 1/2 year legal battle to try to shut me up and get his name off of my web site. He failed. My testifying expert cited NINE violations of the standard of care on one day alone. The SOB has a clean record with the illustrious Texas state board after this freak show happened to my cat.

    Read Suki's Story at www.vetabusenetwork.com/sukistory.html and tell me if you don't think I'm entitled to emotional distress damages. I still have nightmares, and always will. To this day, this "doctor" maintains he did nothing wrong despite my inability to find another vet on this planet who can medically explain what he did. May he ROT.

    Emotional distress? You bet your ASS. Every day of my life.

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  4. Higher vet mal insurance impacting our costs at the vets' is a non-issue. Studies suggest that the increase to us would be negligeable. Even if it were more than negligeable, many of us would willingly part with some money to ensure safer vet care for our pets.

    My old cat's heart failure went undiagnosed, as a result of which he went without treatment, wasted away and suffered. Did his suffering and (likely) premature death cause me emotional trauma? Without a doubt. A trauma and grief of having a pet die a wrongful death is vastly different and far more intense than having a pet die of natural causes. What compounds the emotional distress manifold is the dishonesty, evasiveness and a nasty attitude of the vet who is confronted for an explanation. Most people I have known in these situations are not after money. They are after the truth. They want those responsible to take responsibility. They want them to be honest and commit to improvement, so as to have a closure and to know that the pet's death or suffering was not in vain.

    I think vets should learn ethics and honesty in vet school because by depriving the grieving owner of the truth, they are compounding the grief, bringing it into a different dimention altogether, a very unkind and unethical thing to do. I think younger vets tend to be more open to the idea that honesty has value in situations with medical errors. With my cat's misdiagnosis, I had to deal with an "old guard" vet, for whom the idea of honesty seemed totally foreign.

    I am glad to see that our bond with our pets is beginning to be valued more than in the years past, and that the truth of our grief and emotional distress over losing our furry "children" is beginning to be recognized as well. Thank you highlighting this issue.

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  5. My cat was given a massive 30-unit overdose of insulin by his veterinarian's son, a young man without any formal veterinary training who was left alone, without supervision, to take care of the patients at the hospital over the weekend, presumably to save his father money on real "vet techs." He barely survived, but with dramatic, severe, irreversible brain damage. His neurological injuries and their consequences cost me approximately $16,000 over the next two years of his life, but I could not sue to recover these ECOMONIC damages in my state because of the state cap, which was $5,000. Nevermind the economic damages, though. From watching my cat seize repeatedly, struggle to get upright, and everything else he went through, I am CERTAIN I suffered PTSD. I could not close my eyes without reliving these events. I pretty much CANCELLED most of my social life and stayed home to care for him the next two years of his life, leaving only to go to work.

    In those same years, the idiot kid who OD'd him got married. Oh, and got himself into a traffic accident that got him sued for tortious injury, so I guess the carelessness did not stop with animals.

    What was the emotional toll on me?

    Lost friends.
    Lost relationship.
    Sweaty palms and panics.
    Flashbacks.
    Sleeplessness.
    Nightmares.
    Daymares.

    TOTAL LOSS of trust in both veterinary and medical professionals AS WELL AS government agencies, since the state vet board fined the vet only $250 for this incident.

    To me, it's not about paying me back. You can't pay me back for 2 years of my life and then some. You can pay me back for my loss of trust. You can't pay me back for living "on edge." Sleeping with the lights and TV on.

    But there should have been PUNITIVE costs. That's what I want to see.

    At least emotional damages, but there should be PUNITIVE charges, and the vet boards won't do it because they are PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    Please read animal law expert Christopher Green's study on the future of veterinary liability. He found that allowing owners to recover capped economic damages would add totally negligible, virtually un-noticeable costs if passed on to the consumer.

    http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arus10animall163.htm

    This BS argument vets give about "the costs of vet care will go up" is a total crock of you know what, and they even KNOW it when they say it. THey are deliberately lying to us -- but what else is new?

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  6. I'm very torn on this issue, because on the one hand if a vet is truly inexcusably negligent and a pet suffers or dies from it, causing the owner emotional suffering, then I believe they're due some compensation.
    However, I can't help but see veterinary malpractice being abused. While many people think of their pets as family, not everyone shares that attitude. In human medical malpractice, a person can usually prove whether or not they suffered. But how can you show that someone suffered because of their pet's suffering? In some cases it would be possible, but not in all.
    I think people oversue in human medicine, and I would hate to see the same thing happen in veterinary medicine. However, I won't deny that people who go through hell because of a veterinarian's negligence are due more than their pet's "property value".
    Again, it's a tricky issue and I'm one of the people who voted "not sure" in your survey.

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  7. To join my fellow commenter's, I do not see increase in costs becoming a concern, particularly when malpractice in an animal is that much more difficult to prove overall. So the theory of " noticeable " price increase really doesn't hold up.

    Pet owner/guardians aren't the least bit interested in the ability to sue; they are looking to easily achieve honest, ethical, skilled, and compassionate care.

    Clients should be able to obtain this care, but if something is not up to "standard", they should have meaningful recourse for accountability. State or governmental authorities, such as Boards and Attorney General Consumer Protection is just not stepping up to the plate to accomplish this.

    So what in fact happens, is the general knowledge among the profession of becoming "untouchable" for ANY and ALL reasons. It drags your profession down to low levels, it creates feelings of mistrust or appearing money-grabbing.

    And the comments listed here are but a few of many examples.

    If laws were changed to reflect the true situation & remedy for egregious behavior/negligence/malpractice--you can BET that your profession would clean up & weed out the bad bunch!

    I do have a simple question though, as noted your offer to answer questions. What is the absolute highest phosphorus level that you have seen any canine successfully treated for? And are there any published articles in professional journals citing this?
    Please let me know if you should answer this question & thank you,

    walnuthl@gsinet.net

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  8. I won't go into my story in detail - let's just say I spent $20K fixing a mistake by my vet. I finally had to let my girl go because I couldn't afford the $2-$3K every couple of months to keep her going after losing my job. So it can't be *that* expensive for the insurance can it?

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  9. I haven't commented for a few days so I could allow people to make their comments. I also want people to know that the comments here are from a very minor group of people. Yes, there are veterinarians who are abusive or guilty of malpractice. And these vets should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But as a whole, most veterinarians are doing the very best job they can and honestly care. I have visited and read all of the web sites mentioned in these comments, and it seems to me that word was passed around a webring, directing the people to this blog. And that webring is full of people that have unfortunately had horrible experiences with vets. I have also downloaded the article that was mentioned, and am working my way through the 88 pages of heavy legal discussion.

    I should also say that I probably didn't explain my own viewpoint as well as I should. My intent with the entry was to mention the dilemma from a vet's point of view. I think that some method should exist for pain and suffering damages. However, there are too many frivolous lawsuits in human medicine, and I don't want to see that happen in my own profession. If we as a society and a profession are going to elevate the status of pets from property to family members, this needs to be reflected in our legal system.

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  10. Dr. Bern,

    I would like to address your comment regarding those who commented here. Even though I own a webring for victims of bad veterinary care, that is not how your blog post was passed around. I am signed up for 'google alerts' for particular key words and that is how your blog post came to my attention. I, in turn, emailed your link to the MANY victims of bad veterinary care who have contacted me over the years. It's only natural that people with common interests/experiences will find each other online and share information.

    You state -

    'Yes, there are veterinarians who are abusive or guilty of malpractice. And these vets should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But as a whole, most veterinarians are doing the very best job they can and honestly care.'

    While I believe that there are many caring vets out there, I think the problem of bad veterinary care is much more pervasive than you might imagine. One of the biggest problems is the total lack of meaningful accountability in the profession. Over 90 percent of consumer complaints alleging vet mal are flat out dismissed by the majority of state veterinary boards. The few vets who are actually sanctioned by their boards for vet mal receive sanctions that are woefully inadequate to serve as any type of future deterrent.

    Take a look at another of my websites - Texas Veterinary Records - http://texasveterinaryrecords.com/ - and see for yourself the woefully inadequate sanctions for vet mal. Keep in mind in Texas that more than 92 percent of vet mal cases are dismissed with no action at all - as happened in our complaint.

    In my opinion, people similarly situated as myself are not interested in money for pain and suffering. They are interested in accountability. If the boards charged with regulating your profession won't do their jobs and hold bad vets accountable and the bad vets themselves won't take responsibility for their actions, what would you expect the clients of your profession to do?

    If your profession is truly worried about malpractice lawsuits, I believe the answer to prevent such lawsuits is staring you right in the face. START PROPERLY POLICING YOUR PROFESSION. Quit turning a blind eye to the total lack of accountability.

    The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them.

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  11. Dr. Bern, I too believe that there are many honest, ethical, and compassionate professionals in pet-med care.

    Unfortunately, when those good people stick up or cover for the "bad" people, that enables the cycle to continue. AND it brings your profession down to low levels, not tolerable to consumer-clients.

    Lawsuits are NOT what people want-they are all consuming in time, money, and health. But "free-for-all and anything goes" no longer has a place of respect in society.

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  12. Greg, thanks for the clarification on how you found my blog, and that's pretty much what I figured. I don't mind commments, even ones that disagree with me. I'm a firm believer in free speech rights, and welcome all rational discussions.

    I don't disagree that there should be better methods for holding people accountable when they do something that is certainly malpractice or abusive. I'm not opposed to some form of damages as a form of punishment and discouragement. And I agree in some situations the discipline instituted is not strong enough.

    However, it seems from some of these sites and comments that people seem to view the majority of vets as careless at a minimum and possibly even the majority willfully performing malpractice. Forgive me if I have misinterpreted the sites in your webring, Greg, or anyone's statements here, but that is the attitude that you project, intentionally or unintentionally. And that viewpoint I vehemently disagree with. I have been in the veterinary field in some capacity for 25 years, and during that time have known hundreds of veterinarians. I can honestly say that the overwhelming majority of them were people that honestly cared and did their best to provide good quality care. I can also honestly say that there were a few that I wanted to report to the state board for malpractice (which I couldn't do...boards generally only recognize complaints from clients). I think that the "honest, ethical, and compassionate" people (as Barbara put it) are the majority, not the minority. But I'm not at all discounting that there are people that should be drummed out of the profession. And unfortunately those few leave a bad impression on people that clouds their trust of the rest.

    Also, you have to be careful when studying "consumer complaints". Yes, many are legitimate and need to be investigated and handled. But there are also many that are a result of miscommunication, not maliciousness. And there are many that are completely frivolous, and really don't have much of a bearing in the reality of the situation. You can't give credence to every complaint, and the difficulty of any regulatory agency is to be able to weed through those to get to the ones that need to be addressed.

    So again, I'm not discounting that some situations are horrible, and proper justice has not been done. I also don't disagree that there needs to be stiffer penalties in some cases. But I want people to know the consequences of going on a "witch hunt" and dragging innocents along with the truly guilty. And I disagree that there is a "total lack of accountability" or "free-for-all and anything goes" attitude in the profession.

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  13. Dr. Bern, I can only hope that you are right about the "majority" of your colleagues.

    However, when even vets like you won't report colleagues it's a concern. (Yes, you can, have you asked your state board? Because I have seen MANY actions as a result of colleague complaints -- here is an example:

    http://www.vetlocator.com/newsarticles/talesofwoe.php)

    When even vets like you won't report a colleague that you think needs to be reported, is it US that is lumping the innocents with the guilty, or is it you?

    Time after time I hear in one form or another the "there but for the grace of God go I" justification for vets not wanting to speak out. To which I can respond: NO, not "there but for the grace" go you. You wouldn't both spay after spay for years running. You wouldn't lose your temper and slam a dog's head on the table. You wouldn't have a "surgical suite" with parvo dogs tied to a chair and dried blood and excrement around the room. You really wouldn't. Right?

    As for accountability, you are definitely mistaken. I have read scores of disciplinary actions from states all over the country -- I'm not talking about mere consumer allegations, here, I'm talking about actual board actions. They do VERY little. Suspensions almost universally "stayed" even for vets with a long history of prior actions. Fines of $250-$500. Is that holding people "accountable?" I don't think so.

    By implying that by speaking out we lump the innocent with the guilty, you appear to be arguing that silence is preferable.

    The wall of silence will not stand. You've said yourself, that you, among the "innocent" won't report the "guilty". So we have no choice but to agitate.

    If your profession would take this on we wouldn't have to.

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  14. I have disagreed with vets on more than one occasion, but that is the nature of medicine. There are varying viewpoints on certain disorders, diseases, and treatments, and so there won't ever be 100% consistency between professionals.

    I have only ever seen true malpractice once, and it was pretty bad. The vet in question had had a stroke, and so his clients started going to other area vets, myself included. The cases were bad enough that I looked into board action. The board of that state indicated that they took complaints more seriously if they came from clients rather than another vet (I guess to avoid bad-mouthing other vets only to hurt their business). That vet ended up dying, so I never pursued the action. However, I certainly did not ignore it.

    Stefani, the actions you describe are indeed horrible, and I would agree that they constitute malpractice, and those vets should have stronger discipline than a few hundred dollars fine. I'm not disagreeing with that at all. I'm merely saying that you shouldn't assume all vets are this way or that the problem is rampant in the profession. It's easy to be horribly hurt and have that cloud your perceptions. It's also easy to see numerous bad situations and assume that everyone acts like this.

    There are around 80,000 vets in the US alone. According to TexasVeterinaryRecords.com, there were 85 vets that had disciplinary investigations against them in 2008. Texas is one of our most populous states, but let's assume the same number of vets disciplined in all 50 states. That's 4250 vets across the country that have had some disciplinary action in a year (including ones for lack of documentation, which I wouldn't consider blatant malpractice, though it shouldn't be done). And this is about 5% of veterinarians. While I'm in complete agreement that this is way too many, it also means that 95% of vets have no actions against them and performed their jobs well!!! Again, let's keep this in perspective.

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  15. Dr. Bern,

    Let me help you out a little bit with the numbers from Texas. As you noticed, there were 85 agreed orders from 2008. There were 469 complaints/disciplinary investigations against Texas vets in 2008 - a record number.

    If you take a closer look at those same agreed orders, please notice how many of the agreed orders are board-initiated complaints - continuing education violations, licensure violations, etc. As you might imagine, the majority of the 469 complaints filed were filed by the vet's clients for alleged malpractice. Now go back and take a look at how few of those agreed orders were for malpractice. While I am positive that some of those 469 complaints were most likely frivolous, surely you are not suggesting that darn near the whole lot of them were frivolous, are you? I was personally contacted by several complainants - who had valid complaints - yet their complaints were dismissed without action - just as our's was in 2006. These numbers are massaged and padded in many states with CE violations, drug licensure violations, etc. to give the appearance of a higher disciplinary rate. While these are disciplinary actions, most people naturally assume that is the disciplinary rate for standard of care violations, when in fact, the disciplinary rate for alleged malpractice is MUCH lower. I find it hard to believe that well over 90 percent of consumer complaints alleging malpractice are frivolous. Don't let the 'numbers' fool you.

    By the way, I do thank you and appreciate the fact that you allow people such as myself to comment in a civil manner on your blog. That says alot about you as a person.

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  16. Thanks for the clarification, Greg. That does put a different perspective on things. However, I still contend that the majority of veterinarians are honest and of high quality. Can I back this up with numbers? No. That's just an "insider's" perspective from 25 years in the field, having known hundreds of veterinary professionals.

    I don't discount that there are many legitimate complaints in your number. And if the Texas board is ignoring most of those, then legislative action needs to take place. I can certainly understand your frustration. I can't say whether or not the same situation exists in every state, as each state has different laws and regulations. When I practiced in North Carolina we would get newsletters from the board detailing disciplinary actions, and they always seemed adequate to me.

    We also need to realize (which you probably do) that even if a complain seems legitimate to a layperson and especially the client, it may not have good basis in medicine. Here's an example. A number of years ago the practice I was at saw two poodle puppies. Their first couple of visits were unremarkable, but then they developed upper respiratory infections. Despite antibiotics and supportive therapy, they died. Post-mortem testing showed that they died of canine distemper. My associate and I hadn't strongly considered this disease because they puppies had received several vaccines and the timing wasn't typical for the disease. The client insisted that it was the vaccine that caused the disease. So with due diligence we contacted the manufacturer as well as internal medicine specialists. Everyone agreed that there was no way that this particular vaccine could have induced distemper. However, the client was in vehement disagreement, continuing to insist that we caused her puppies to die because of the vaccine. If the client had made a complaint to the state board or any other regulatory agency, that organization would have looked at the case and dismissed it. Yet the client truly and honestly believed that we had killed her puppies and would have been making the complaint from strong personal belief.

    I realize that this case isn't exactly the same as some that you and your fellow webring members have listed, Greg. In looking at many of those, the cases were truly malpractice. And I wouldn't say that the majority of those 469 cases are without merit. But I'm sure that there are plenty of them where the client has heartfelt concerns that are still without basis. While I take to heart your viewpoint and agree that it appears that state boards need to protect consumers more than vets, I would also caution you to take your own advice and don't let the numbers fool you in the other direction.

    I have never deleted a comment on my blog other than obvious spam. I strongly believe in free speech rights. I also believe that the only way we can learn from each other and come to mutual understanding is through civil discussion. I know that I won't necessarily fully embrace your view and I don't expect you to come over to my side. But by allowing these discussions, I hope that we can all learn a little more about each other, understand each other better, and overall have a more civil society.

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  17. No, these are not an unusual element of people posting. MANY people have these experiences but they have no recourse. For example, Michigan law allows veterinarians to get away with murder - literally. I had an expensive show dog a specialist vet did a c-section on - left gauze in her abdomen. She almost died except for extensive measures by another vet. She will never have puppies. It has hurt my breeding program beyond belief. But I can only sue for "vet bills". Not the pain she endured nursing her puppies with this foreign body in her, not the expenses incurred in getting her to the vet for emergency surgery (and work lost), not the loss of one heck of a show dog...she is "chattel" under Michigan law. She is no more valuable than livestock - a chicken, a goat even though she shares my bed, and is my best friend. Vets are NOT accountable and the argument about malpractice insurance doesn't hold water - they can literally get away with murder (I was told I'd have gotten only medical expenses- if I was lucky - had she died). The vets here in Michigan have a good deal - do what they want, no accountability. That needs to change and I plan to make it happen - I am no longer going to sit quietly. I have had 5 incidents over the past 10 years where vets were guilty of malpractice - FIVE...in 2 cases the dogs died.

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  18. Cindy I am so sorry. You are certainly not alone. Have you seen this article?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35286379/ns/health-pet_health//

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  19. A few days before Christmas last year Zoidberg, my 6 y.o. Ridgeback X, was diagnosed with Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma). I took her the next day to a specialist in this field to confirm diagnosis and for treatment. It was an extremely emotional time for me. When I showed the specialist the Xray, he very briefly looked at it, confirmed the diagnosis and started to talk about treatment options. The best way to extend her life expectancy was to do amputation and chemotherapy. He said that he could schedule her for limb amputation that day, and should follow up with 4 rounds of chemo in a few weeks. I asked if the diagnosis could be confirmed with a biopsy, he said there was no need and that he has never seen a case where the pathology came back not cancer. He also mentioned that a biopsy would take a few weeks, and he was going on holidays and his assistant would then do the surgery. Also that the longer we left it, the lesser her survival rate would be.

    Well, Zoidberg is a trooper, she has had the amputation, and three rounds of chemo and is hopping about her daily business. To my shock this morning, the specialist calls me and says he has good news and bad news. The good news is that Zoidberg does not have Bone Cancer and she will most likely live out her full life. The bad news is that she had Osteopetrosis or Osteoma, both treatable and definitely do not require amputation or chemotherapy.

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  20. I have a dog and been my companion for over 12 years, she have a sore on her upper leg. I knew she's in great pain because she don't have the strength to walk. I took her to a vet. in my area, he checked her out. He gave her 2 shots (he said both were anti-biotic and told me to give her plenty of water. As soon as we got back home I filled a plastic container that I could squezz in her mouth, she finished the bottle of water. Less an hour later from the vet I watched her dying. It hurts me so bad to watch her die. I strongly doubt that the shots he gave her was not to help her but to kill her. Do you think the Vet injected my dog to caused her to die? Please give me your thoughts about this.
    I am so depressed now because I missed her a lot. She is the only companion I've got. She was so sweet and protective dog. I named her 'Joy' because she is the joy of my life.

    Lyn GS (From Georgia)

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  21. If she had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics she may have died from it. However, this is very rare and nothing that anyone could have predicted ahead of time. If she had never had a reaction to medications previously your vet would have had no way of determining if the injections would be harmful, and therefore isn't the vet's "fault". Antibiotic injections are used multiple times per day by every vet and are usually not harmful in the least. I would recommend that you speak to your vet about this situation as I can't say what is going on without having been there. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  22. I have a question and would like an answer from anybody out there on this lawsuit that I might have on this specialist veterinarian. I took my cat in October of 2012 to this vet who claims to be a cardiologists it took them all day for them to get the test done when I got my cat back she was not her loving self she had crapped all over herself had a string on her butt and they had to give her a valium to calm her down from the ultrasound of her heart to test for HCM. when she went in there she is a Sphynx cat , stinks cats like to cuddle and like to sleep underneath the blankets with you and like very much to be have your attention . now she's a touch me not and she doesn't even like the vet anymore where she used to love to go to the vet . she also didn't mind the groomers and she loves car rides and now she doesn't do any of that she even bites me know where she didn't use to . I need somebody to pinyin on what I should do this that charge me almost 1000 dollars for this test but the cat is not the same and the vet said my that said the she will never be the same because how she was treated by this vet . it took her almost a month after she came home to even sleep in bed with me . she was only there maybe 5 hours 6 at the very most . can somebody please tell me if I have a lawsuit or not . because I'm sure going to pain and suffering right now & I know my cat is also .

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