Wednesday, February 27, 2008
What did Sparky experience before he died as a result of this overdose?
Well, in the case of a human overdose with Cisplatin, the victim experienced:
"progressive hearing loss, kidney failure, a reduction of body calcium and festering sores because his immune system was weakened. " Ultimately, the victim died.
Let's compare what happened to the doctors involved in these two cases, shall we?
In the case of veterinarian Henderson -- she was fined $300, and ordered to take 4 hours of continuing education classes in calculating and administering chemotherapy.
In the case of the doctor in the human case (whose "name has not been disclosed" -- gee, wouldn't you like to know who he is so you and your loved ones can avoid him?), the hospital suspended him from clinical duties. In other words -- at least for the time being -- he was stopped from practising . (That was apparently proactive action taken by the hospital, not the medical board).
If your vet is treating your animal for a condition, such as cancer -- have you investigated his or her skill level in treating the disease? Do you have assurances that this vet is experienced enough to -- for example -- competently calculate doses for your pet? Have you done online research yourself and/or gotten a second opinion to double-check on the dose and treatment protocol?
And if the vet makes an error like the one described above -- WHAT do you think the State Vet Board, and/or the owners of the hospital where the vet is employed, should do? Do you think that the actions taken are strong enough to protect our pets?
None of the questions above are intended to imply that any of what happened to poor Sparky -- who was obviously a VERY loved dog -- is the responsibility of his owner. QUITE THE CONTRARY. The responsibility for such tragic and horrifying incidents is entirely with the culpable veterinarian and her employers -- who clearly employed no fail-safes to double check doses. The owner should have been able to trust that this veterinarian would give the right dose to her dog, whose life she or he was obviously desperately trying to save, probably at great cost! Instead of saving Sparky, the vets error was responsible for his death, as it led to him having to be euthanized.
However, although the veterinarians are ENTIRELY to blame for these things, as I have learned myself the hard way, these people will NEVER take responsibility and the system that regulates them will never protect us -- from sloppiness, errors, or worse. Therefore, it's very advisable to double check on your vet whenever you can. There is nothing we as owners can do to entirely protect our pets from veterinary errors like this, but our only choice is to be as vigilent as possible -- because heaven knows, the vets and vet practices and those who regulate them, hardly do anything about these things and aren't vigilent at all.
After reading about this story, I began wondering if there was any thing that could have been done to save Sparky after this overdose was given. I found the following information on the use of plasmapheresis in cases of cisplatin overdose, although I would guess this must be done before the kidney damage caused by the overdose has progressed too far in order to work:
Link to disciplinary record:
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
"Lucky" and "Moocher" were two dogs boarded by their owner with Griffin in 2006. The owner "visited the dogs at the clinic and noticed that 'Lucky' had apparently lost weight and appeared listless. Dr. Griffin told [the owner] that the dog's kidney's were apparently failing and there was nothing he could do. [The owner] picked up Lucky and took him to another veterinarian (not identified) who treated the dog for a kidney infection and pressure sores. The dog eventually recovered."
[Commentary: Do you know what pressure sores are? There those bedsores that elderly people get in nursing homes when they aren't being taken proper care of! Oh, and clearly, Griffin's lazy-man diagnosis was incorrect!]
"Since Moocher was diabetic, [the owner] left insulin and instructions for use, and was told by the clinic staff that the dog would be exercised and fed an appropriate diet while [the owner] was gone. After about 9 days of boarding [the owner] went to the clinic and was told by Dr. Griffin that Moocher had died about three days after boarding had begun. No explanation of the dog's death was offered. [The owner] suspected that the dog had not been given his insulin and the care promised during boarding.
"Dr. Griffin did not produce any records relating to the two dogs' conditions and care during boarding. Dr. Griffin reported that he had closes his clinic in Temple and is now working as a relief vet in Abilene."
BUT GET THIS -- the board concluded that "Due to lack of records, there is insufficient evidence on which to determine the adequacy of care of the two dogs by Dr. Griffin."
PUHLEASE!!!!! Are you deaf, dumb and blind vet board????
What do you, dear reader, think about this? DO YOU lack sufficient evidence to determine the adequacy of care of these dogs -- one dead, one suffering bed sores and a treatable-but-untreated infection - by Dr. Griffin?
So, on this case, the Board found Griffin ONLY in violation of recordkeeping statutes, and issued ONLY an INFORMAL reprimand!
Now onto the second disciplinary action -- when the Board launched its investigation into the case described above, they contacted Griffin and asked him to respond to the allegations raised by the owner. He did not respond to two letters. Then an investigator called him and the phone had been disconnected at his work; they called his home, no answer and no machine. Over FOUR MONTHS after the first letter was sent, the Board finally sent a certified letter to his house, which was signed for by one "Kayla Griffin." After that they called his house again and no pick up, no machine. A few weeks later, they were finally able to leave a message with an answering service, and he finally responded.
When they did finally talk to Griffin, Griffin told the board that the records for Lucky and Moocher were in storage, and he would send them. But HE NEVER DID. When they held an "informal" investigatory conference, Griffin said that the bank, which had FORECLOSED ON HIS TEMPLE CLINIC, had destroyed the records.
How convenient is that?
The Board can't find fault with his treatment BECAUSE, they say, they don't have records.
BUT the dude first says the records are in storage, THEN he claims they are destroyed? How convenient for him!
Do you really think the Board buys that? Do you buy it? Because I sure don't!
But one thing is for sure -- in the absence of those records, THEY SHOULD still be able to evaluate the "care" of the dog that died and the dog that got bedsores and no treatment for a treatable kidney infection. What are they trying to pull?
The Board only found Griffin in violation of his "duty to cooperate with the Board." And gave him yet another reprimand. Oh, this one was "formal." Big whup.
Rest in peace, Moocher.
Pet owners of Abilene -- beware. As of late 2006, this man is practising in your town.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Wang "performed surgery on the patient and applied a belly band. [Wang] informed the Complainant that the dog had lost a substantial amount of blood during the procedure, then requested and received permission for the dog to be kept overnight for observation. The patient records did not indicate the amount, route, frequency or the type of drugs used for sedation, anesthesia, or maintenance of anesthesia."
"The patient died on November 14, 2003 while under the care of [Wang]."
"Although, according to the chart, patient Lucy was faint, her gums were white and her temperature was too low to register, over four hours elapsed before her temperature was raised to near normal. There was no indication in the charts of any laboratory work, the use of any emergency drugs or of any response to the Oxyglobin that was administered on November 14, 2003. Further the chart did not indicate the amount or route of Oxyglobin administered, nor was there any indication of an assessment to rule in or rule out internal bleeding or a coagulation disorder, or of any laboratory work to differentiate either disorder. [Wang] testified that she did follow up with the patient for care and observation at approximately 9:00 am on the morning of November 14, 2003 however there was no record of the time of follow-up observation. [Wang] admitted that her recordkeeping was not good at that time."
[Commentary: So, PULEASE??? NOW that the dog is dead and a complaint has been filed, she says she checked on the dog, she just didn't write it down?
Why did Wang not raise Lucy's temperature for 4 hours?
It seems likely that not enough was done to save Lucy.]
The Board added that although Wang "was not cited for failure to use and/or have equipment available for hematocrit testing at her clinic, the Board did inform [her] that use of the same was required by S.C. Reg. 120(8)8.2(c) and (d).
The Board concluded that Wang was in violation of recordkeeping regulations in three instances, and had "engaged in unprofessional conduct or engaged in practices in connection with the practice of veterinary medicine that violated the standards of professional conduct; and that Wang's "conduct was incompetent or negligent in the practice of veterinary medicine as evidenced by her substandard record keeping and her failure to conduct an assessment to rule in or rule out internal bleeding or coagulation disorder, or to order any laboratory work to differentiate either disorder."
Wang was given a penalty of $250 (big whup!) but was also ordered to pay the $1,443.75 costs of the investigation. Quite oddly, Wang was ordered to buy a book and read a chapter on recordkeeping and then submit a "recreation of a complete surgical record for patient Lucy along with two other surgical cases."
What I find odd about that is -- why are they giving her an opportunity to create records for this dead dog so long after the fact? Records that might well end up documenting self-protective fictions "CYA" style?
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The Alaska Veterinary Board memorandum of agreement with the veterinary technician, Cyd Hanns, stated that "Hanns admits to the following facts: . . . During the time that Hanns was employed with the Health Department, Hanns euthanized animals without veterinary supervision, diagnosed the medical condition of animals without veterinary supervision, and administered or dispensed prescribed drugs to animals without veterinary supervision . . . Hanns activities as a Veterinary Technician . . . were beyond the scope of her licensed practice."
Yes, I know -- this blog is about BAD VETS, not bad vet techs -- but my inclusion of this record is very intentional.
What is very interesting about this Board action against a vet tech is that it is NOT accompanied by a disciplinary action against the vets that were presumably responsible for Hanns' supervision, and who should be held responsible for technicians or assistants who do things that are legally outside the boundaries of what they should be doing. It is not safe to have unqualified staff performing medicial duties such as those described here. It is fine to hold the vet tech responsible for practising outside his/her permitted scope, but what about the vet?
After all, the vets are the ones who are RESPONSIBLE to assign duties to staff and SUPERVISE to ensure that duties performed are in accordance with appropriate roles and training, and that they are performed correctly.
Does the Board really believe -- and expect us to believe -- that the vets who SHOULD have been supervising Hanns weren't tasking Hann's with some of these out-of-scope duties, or didn't know that Hanns was doing them? I certainly don't believe that. But even if they didn't know, THEY SHOULD HAVE.
Why no disciplinary action against those BAD VETS?
Guess it's just easier to let the vet tech take the fall alone.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
What we do know is that the board alleged that Topp violated "Ohio Revised Code 4741-1-03(A), (B)(3)(a), (B)(5)(h),(B)(3)(e), (B)(6)(a), and (B)(6)(c) and 4741-1-21(1) and (2)."
So what we can learn about these alleged violations we must infer from referencing the cited sections of the code.
In alleging the Topp violated Ohio Revised Code 4741-1-03, the Board was alleging a violation of Board requirements for "Minimum Standards for Stationary Veterinary Facilities" (http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4741-1-03).
In alleging that Topp violated Ohio Revised Code 4741-1-21(1) and (2), the Board was alleging violations of statutes related to patient recordkeeping (http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4741-1-21).
It is my estimation, from reviewing hundreds of disciplinary records from Vet Boards all over the country, that "recordkeeping" violations are a catch all category that the board uses when, in many cases, more concerning behavior than mere recordkeeping irregularities took place. Moreover, the punitive actions taken by the board in this case are comparatively stiff.
My advice to any pet owner within Dr. Topp's area of service is -- since the public record doesn't include enough details for you to figure out what gave rise to these allegations, you should assume the worst.
Friday, February 22, 2008
California Vet Allowed to Continue Practicing In Spite of Being Charged with 13 Violations Including Animal Cruelty, Unprofessional Conduct, & More
John Quick is the owner of Animal Care Center of Morgan Hill in California. In early 2007, he signed a "stipulated settlement" "admitting to the factual basis for the imposition of discipline based on  charges and allegations" the Veterinary Board filed against him. These charges are so egregious and shocking that they speak for themselves. They incude two charges of animal cruelty, circumstances surrounding the overdose of a patient, and actions that could have exposed humans and animals to his HIV-infected blood.
The 13 charges are summarized below, as taken from the California Veterinary Board's Accusations and charges:
First Cause for Discipline: Conviction
"[Quick] . . . was convicted of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of veterinary medicine, in that on November 12, 2004, [Quick] was convicted by the court on a plea of nolo contendere of . . . (wreckless driving) . . . in lieu of a violation of . . . (driving under the influence), in Monterey County Superior Court, Case Nmber MS225443, entitled People v. Quick, John Norman.
Second Cause for Discipline: Violation of Statutes Regulating Controlled Substances
". . . [Quick], on several occasions, obtained the drug Augmentin from the Animal Care Center Pharmacy, and provided and administered it to his daughter, Ashley Quick, to treat her strep throat. "
Third Cause for Discipline: Administering Controlled Substances to Self
[Quick] ". . . admittedly used cocaine and methamphetamine up until 2004, and has a history of chronic substance abuse. . . .[Quick] used alcoholic beverages in a manner as to be dangerous or injurious to himself and/or others . . . "
Fourth Cause for Discipline: Violation of the Veterinary Practice Act
[Quick] "is subject to disiplinary action under section 4883(c) of the Code, in that he failed to properly maintain patient records for "Junior," a 13-year old canine patient, who received surgery to repair a partially ruptured anterior cruciate ligamen on May 16, 2003. SAid records were lost or destroyed and were not available for inspection by the Board upon request."
Fifth Cause for Discipline: Violation of Regulations
[Quick] is subject to disciplinary action under section 4883(o) of the Code, in that his conduct as described in paragraph 19, above, further constitutes a violation of a regulation adopted by the Board, to wit: Title 16, California Code of Rgulations ("CCR"), section 2032.3(b) (failure to maintain animal patient records for at least three years).
Sixth Cause for Discipline: Violation of Regulations
[Quick] . . . "failed to appropriately observe and/or to provide properly supervised trained recovery personnel for Junior, who was recovering from general anesthesia. As a result of inadequate monitoring during initial surgical recovery, Junior sustained second and third degree burns afer coming in direct contact with heated saline bags. As a result of the burns, on or about June 11, 2003, Junior underwent debridement surgery, by Dr. Shanna Compton, DVM (an associated employed by respondent [Quick], and pain control medication was prescribed."
Seventh Cause for Discipline: Violation of Regulations
". . . Juniors prescription for pain control medication was improperly filled/compounded by a non-licensed technician employed by [Quick]. [Quick], by his own admission, was present when Junior's owner, a registered nurse, questioned the change in volume and appearance of the pain medication refill (Torbutrol). [Quick] heked the refill and instructed the unlicensed technician to dilute the medication and have Dr. Compton, an associate in the respondent's clinic, check the refill for accuracy. The improperly filed/compounded medication was neverthelss dispensed and Junior received a fatal dose."
Commentary: Can you imagine how that poor owner feels -- first they burn her dog to the point where he has to have a surgery, then, after this massive and painful screwup, the prescribe him "pain medication" which she then gives him a FATAL dose of because they compounded it wrong - using unlicensed staff and not properly supervising them? Imagine!
Eighth Cause for Discipline: Negligence
"[Quick] is subject to disciplinary action under section 4883(i) of the Code in that [his] conduct . . . constitutes a departure from the standard of practice of veterinary medicine."
Ninth Cause for Discipline: Unprofessional Conduct
"[Quick] is subject to disciplinary action under section 4883(g) of the Code (general unprofessional conduct) in that, while admittedly HIV positive, [he] did not practice universal safety precautions to prevent blood to blood and/or saliva contact between patients, clients, and/or employees. On one specific occasion in 2003, [he] intentionally smashed microscope slides, causing them to break and cut [his] hands. Respondent bled onto te slides and directed his employees, who were unaware that respondent was HIV positive, to clean up the mess. On said occasion, respondent backed Dr. Compton against a wall, got close to her face, and yelled at her, potentially exposing her to his saliva, which is considered to be potentially infectious, under certain conditions. More generally, [Quick] admittedly did not use gloves to protect humans and animals from any possible blood to blood transmissions."
Tenth Cause for Discipline: Animal Cruelty
". . . in 2002, [Quick] examined a poodle, Fritz, who had staples or stitches in his head, after having a mass removed. In the course of providing said examination, [Quick] continually bumped the dog's head, causing the dog to snap at and bite respondent, after respondent twicerefused his female employee's offer to muzzle the dog. AFter being bitten, [Quick] grabbed the dog by its choke chain and held it suspended over the examination table until its tongue and gums turned blue, and Fritz was gasping for breath. After the incident, Fritz was extremely aggressive whenever he visited the premises."
Eleventh Cause for Discipline: Negligence
"[Quick] is subject t disciplinary action . . . based on the conduct set forth in paragraph 25 above."
Thirteenth [sic] Cause for Discipline: Unprofessional Conduct
"[Quick] is subject to disciplinary action . . . based on the conduct set forth in paragraph 25, above.
Thirteenth Cause for Discipline: Animal Cruelty
[Quick] "took a bald eagle "Bumbles" to his home to care for him for approximately six months. [Quick] returned to the clinic with Bumbles after six months. Bumbles was extremely thin and malnourished. Bumbles was released to a local bird rescue group."
So, you would think -- with all of the dangers the board clearly believes he poses to humans and animals, they would put this vet out of practice once and for all, wouldn't you?
BUT OF COURSE THEY DIDN'T. Becase vet boards protect bad vets, not our pets.
They revoked his license -- BUT STAYED THE REVOCATION. That means he was free to go back to work immediately. Although they placed hi on probation with some terms, none of these terms will prohibit him from taking "care" of YOUR PET in his own special twisted way.
What in the world does a vet in California have to do to get his license revoked -- REALLY revoked? When will the State Vet Boards start taking dangerous vets out of practice?
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Barbarous Baber Sticks Fatal Injections Directly into the Hearts of Fully Conscious, Struggling, Terrorized Animals
When this story broke last fall, we learned that "video obtained through a privately funded investigation by some concerned citizens who wanted to figure out just what was going on inside shows dogs being held up by their fur while Dr. Baber sticks lethal injections into their hearts, one after the other. " (http://www.wkrn.com/node/127021)
Although his method of euthanasia -- stabbing lethal injections directly into the heart of fully conscious animals -- was the focus of most of this coverage, the WKRM story also told of other acts of alleged cruelty reported by shelter staff:
"Animal shelter worker Tabetha Varvaro said, 'The first day I worked there, he euthanized a dog outside and just did a heart punch with him.' Varvaro worked with Dr. Baber for eight months and said from the beginning, witnessed countless acts of aggression and cruelty against animals. Varvaro . . . said, “I thought a lot of times he was being kind of aggressive. He didn’t weigh the animals before he gave them sedatives, so sometimes, one time a dog woke up in surgery with only one ear cut off and was screaming.”
One article, quoting a witness of his murderous methods, said:
“He hits them with the needle. They flip. They flop,” . . . 'They’re just basically going nuts. They’re yelping.' Not only is this method cruel, it is also violates state and national guidelines. So what’s the advantage? It takes less time and at the $9 per animal killed that Baber makes, that made him about $25K last year alone for killing almost 3,000 dogs and cats."
This article goes on to point out that Baber - who also has a private practice -- claimed he did not know what proper euthanasia procedures were. Makes you wonder about the pets he euthed in private practice as well, doesn't it?
In spite of his infamy -- and the fact that he has been fired from the shelter, and faces 12 misdemeanor counts including animal cruelty, he has ONLY been suspended by the veterinary board -- his license has NOT been permanently revoked. Bafflingly, the characteristically lax veterinary board is requiring BABER to take "grief counseling." HE NEEDS grief counseling? Oh poor Baber, how all those crimes must haunt him! Why are they giving him such a sympathetic prescription?
According to more recent coverage, the board will make a decision on Baber's license in April.
You can contact the Tennessee Veterinary Board at:
Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
227 French Landing, Ste 300
Nashville, TN 37243
Telephone: 800-778-4123 x 33447
Let them know what you think should happen to Barbarous Baber's license! This man should have NO future as a vet, and he doesn't need grief counseling -- he needs the inside of a jail!
You can also sign a PETA-sponsord petition demanding the revocation of his license:
Many of the articles on Baber can be found on Pet-Abuse.com:
Some snippets of the original disturbing video are included in this coverage:
It seems that the public outcry may really make a difference in this case. I only wish there was an equally effective outcry against the scores of veterinarians committing comparably barbarous acts safely behind the walls of private veterinary practices every day -- because it is happening.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
"On November 14, 2005 [an owner] presented her cat "Emmitt" to Hans Peterson . . . for a neuter and declaw. Dr. Peterson anesthetized the cat using isoflurane. During surgery, "Emmitt" stopped breathing and Dr. Peterson was unable to revive him. Around 6:30 p.m., Dr. Peterson reported to [the owner] that the cat had died during surgery . . . the patient records for "Emmitt" do not contain the details of the surgery and anesthesia administration: weight and temperature, strength of medications, routes of administration of the anesthesia, and revival procedures."
All of the above comes from the veterinary board's findings. So tell me this -- when you read something like that, don't you wonder how much anesthesia the cat actually got? Whether any "revival procedures" at all were tried? A neuter is a very minor surgery -- cats shouldn't die doing neuters. Or declaws. So, given the fact that no weight or dosing have been recorded, don't you wonder whether or not the vet overdosed the cat on anesthetic? After all, with procedures of this kind, anesthesia is the greatest risk.
That wasn't the first death under Hans Peterson's hands that year under questionable circumstances. In June of the same year, another owner brought her cat "Wesley" to Peterson for treatment of a "plugged urethra and full bladder. Under anesthesia, Dr. Peterson relieved the plug and placed a tube in the urethra for 24 hours. The cat was sent home on June 8th. On June 21, [the owner] returned the cat to Dr. Peterson with the same problem. Dr. Peterson tried to relieve the obstruction but during the process the cat died."
Now, how vague is that?
The document further said: "Dr. Peterson noted the cat was toxic from uremia on the June 21st visit."
The Board found that "patient records for Wesley are incomplete and lack essential details. There is no indication of any attempts to determine the stability of the cat (hydration, temperature, azotemia, etc.). No fluid therapy was noted. There are no notes on case management, routes of administration of the anesthesia, and revival procedures."
Anesthesia? That's the first they mentioned anesthesia. Here we go again.
This vet was found only in violation of recordkeeping statutes, but these cases are a good example of the need to read between the lines in these cases. Usually, when boards find "recordkeeping" violations, much more serious things went on.
I wouldn't put my pets in Hans hands -- would you???
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Later that night, Zolly's owners had to take her to an emergency hospital because of bleeding from her incision site.
Zolly "was taken into surgery and the primary bleeding was found to be at the left ovarian pedicle due to a slipped ligature" (a ligature is a filament or thread used to tie something). "A tear was present in the peritoneum cranial to the left kidney. A tear was also present in the mesentary."
(The peritoneum is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs. The term mesentery "usually refers to the small bowel mesentery which anchors the small intestine to the back of the abdominal wall." See http://www.medterms.com/. So, this -- and the Board's findings -- lead me to believe that Zolly sustained these injuries during surgery. Poor Zolly.)
The Nevada Veterinary Board found "this conduct is a violation of Navada Administrative Code 638.045 negligence, a departure from the standard of care in that the licensee did not repair the tears in the mesentery and did not inform the client that the animal could require monitoring after release."
So, what did the vet board do in this case?
The issued a public letter of reprimand to Maureen Adams, and ordered her to pay investigative costs and board costs of $250.
$250 for this damage done to Zolly? Do you think that's enough? Because I sure don't.
Monday, February 18, 2008
New York Vet Rodwell Rillen's "Continuing Misdiagnosis . . constituted a gross deviation from . . . standards."
Rillen told Kelsey's owner that she had a traumatic injury. He prescribed a steroid (dexamethasone), and prozyme, an enzyme supplement. He also noticed a bite or tick mark on the dog. The Findings state that he did not record any dosage for the prozyme.
Rillen gave the owner Chlorhexideine shampoo to use on Kelsey, because of the tick bite.
Within the next few days, the owner gave Kelsey a bath with this shampoo. The owner attested that no shampoo got into Kelsey's mouth, and that the shampoo was thoroughly rinsed off. Kelsey's owner also gaver her the steroid Rillen had provided.
Six days after they originally went to see Rillen, Kelsey stopped eating and drinking and started vomiting. Two days later she brought Kelsey back to Rillen, telling him she had been vomiting and not eating for 3 days. Rillen's recorded that at this visit Kelsey "was depressed and had sunken eyes." In spite of this observation, Rillen did not recommend or offer to hospitalize Kelsey. He did not order any bloodwork, x-rays, or diagnostics for Kelsey to better figure out what was wrong.
Instead, Rillen assumed that Kelsey was experiencing toxic effects of the shampoo he had given her owners, even though the owners had not reported that she ingested any of it.
The regulatory board (in New York, it's the Department of Education -- go figure) noted in its findings that "Even if Kelsey had ingested the Chlorhexidine shampoo, it is not possible that Kelsey could have consumed enough of it to cause the degree of illness that she suffered. Morever, Chlorhexidine would not cause systemic and prolonged illness . . . there was no reasonable basis for diagnosing Kelsey as having Chlorhexidine shampoo toxicity."
The board said that Kelsey's symptoms, instead, could hve been caused by a number of other ailments including liver or kidney disease, pancreatitis, or gastrointestinal infection.
Rillen's "reliance, without investigation, on Chlorhexidine shampoo toxicity as his diagnosis for Kelsey does not make sense."
Yet, Rillen persisted with his non-sensical, unreasonable diagnosis, even when Kesay was brought back 2 days later even worse. This time, she had labored breathing and blood in her stool. Still, Rillen asserted again that all this was because of the shampoo. Finally, he took some diagnostics -- xrays, blood test. He also hospitalized her and gave her fliuds, antibiotics, and atropine, which was presumably to help her breathing.
The board found that the ex-rays showed that Kelsey had a grossly enlarged liver, called hepatomegaly. Yet, Rillen didn't perform any of a number of tests he could have to identify possible causes of her enlarged liver.
In spite of all this, Rillen still maintained that Kelsey was suffering from toxic effects of the shampoo.
Two days later, Kelsey's owner took her to another veterinary hospital, and unfortunately, a few days later she was euthanized.
The Board charged Rillen with "gross negligence, gross incompetence, negligence on more than one occasion, incompetence on more than one occasion" in the case of Kelsey. They cited his misdiagnosis and his failure to perform diagnostic tests.
The board document states that Rillen's "deviation from . . standard of care endangered Kelsey's health and life". Further they said that he "jumped to and stuck with [his diagnosis of shampoo toxicity] dogmatically notwithstanding that, as shown by the record, it is not possible that Kelsey could have consumed enough Chlorhexidine shampoo to cause the degree of systemic and prolonged illness that she suffered."
Many questions remain after reviewing this case. Chief among them: Why did a dog, in the prime of its life, apparently healthy except for a limp for which she was brought into Rillen, become so ill after seeing him that she ultimately had to be euthanized?
I can only hypothesize and conjection from the layperson's perspective but . . . I have to ask -
Why did the dog with the limp develop an enlarged liver?
The answer may be in that tick bite, and perhaps that is why the board mentioned it. One of the first symptoms of lyme disease in dogs is limping, which was the symptom that Kelsey's owners originally brought her in for. (See http://www.thepetcenter.com/gen/lyme.html)
Moreover, this article says that Shetland Sheepdogs are one of the breeds most prone to getting sick from Lyme disease: http://www.onionriveranimalhospital.com/lyme.pdf. Kelsey was a Shetland Sheepdog.
Hepatomegaly -- enlarged liver -- is also listed as one possible effect of lyme disease (http://www.emedicine.com/EM%20(ERG/topic588.htm), and in fact, in humans, hepatitis occurs in 15-20% of those with lyme disease (http://cassia.org/essay.htm, and (http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/lymedisease/LYM_symptoms.html). Hepatitis IS inflammation of the liver.
In any case, it may well be that giving steroids was the worst thing that could have been done for Kelsey. Steroids -- specifically glucocorticoids, the class in which dexamethasone, the drug given to Kelsey belongs -- can cause enlarged liver/hepatomegaly in dogs.
If indeed, it was perhaps lyme disease that Kelsey was suffering from, could she have been saved if she had been appropriately diagnosed, and treated?
This article says: "Fortunately, over ninety percent of dogs treated within the first week of obvious signs of Lyme Disease will respond rapidly to treatment with a tetracycline antibiotic." (http://www.thepetcenter.com/gen/lyme.html)
Approximately 2 weeks transpired between the time Kelsey went to Rillen and when she was eventually euthanized. Certainly, if her problem had been diagnosed (whether it was lyme disease or something else), 2 weeks could have made a difference in her outcome.
Seems certain that she didn't get the treatment she needed, and that it may have made all the difference.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Do you know who your vet is hiring to take care of your pets?
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Reed's long history of veterinary misdeeds includes misuse of amphetamines on his own dogs to make them more aggressive, transporting controlled substances out of the United States to the Gran Cayman Islands, and patient-care violations that surrounded the death of two dogs in his care, the serious decline of two others in his care, and the mangling of a cat during a "declaw" in which the cats paw pads were partially taken off.
Yet, this vet has missed not one day of work as punishment for these violations thanks to the Indiana Vet Board, which "stayed" its 1989 suspension of his license (meaning he kept seeing people's pets) and put his license on a probation which did not have the effect of protecting anyone's pets from him.
Let's take a look at this bad vet's documented history:
1988. In 1988, the State of Indiana led a complaint against Reed after the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency Complaint Department and an inspector for the Indiana Board of Pharmacy conducted an inspection of Reed's practice at Westchester Animal Clinic. In its complaint, the state said that the inspectors found that -- among other things -- Reed was ordering amphetamines for use in modifying the behavior of his watchdogs and dispensing amphetamines to his daughter.
As for why he gave his dogs these amphetamines -- which according to the State document have no legitimate veterinary use -- the inspectors said Reed told them that "he wanted to 'frighten people into thinking his dog was abnormal.' Stating that the drugs caused the dog to "react 'abnormally' to poeple coming around', the inspectors say he admitted giving his dogs amphetamines to keep them 'hyperalert' so that they would 'scare people away.'"
The inspectors also found that he had repeatedly ordered demerol, even though he admitted there was "no veterinary practice use" for the drug. (Order records showed he had ordered 80cc's and 200 tablets of demerol."
In the case involving giving his dogs uppers, the Vet Board conclused that Reed "has continued to practice although he has bcome unfit to practice veterinary medicine due to (a) professional incompetence; (b) failure to keep abreast of current professional theory or practice"; they also found that he had engaged in cruelty to animals.
After all that you would think they wouldn't want him touching your pets, right? WRONG. Although they put Reed on probation for 3 years, and made him pay $300 bucks and take some classes, he was allowed to continue practising veterinary medicine (although his controlled substance registration was taken away for a year.)
1990. In 1990, another "Findings of Fact" was issued about Reed, that says Reed had been transporting controlled substances to the Grand Cayman Islands. (Hmmm, is that where some of that demerol went???)
In spite of the fact that the State learned that Reed had also taken drugs outside the country to the Grand Cayman Islands (before his controlled substances registration was yanked), the controlled substances advisory committee still argued to give Reed back his controlled substances registration.
Well, they should have known that sooner or later, this kind of behavior would become evident in his treatment of patients. Here we again have a vet who has been found to have committed animal cruelty, still allowed to have patients and practice. Little surprise, then, that the next complaint and findings aren't about drugs -- but instead about patients.
2005. A 10-count complaint is filed against Reed by the Deputy Attorney General regarding his treatment of six animals -- four dogs and two cats. The findings of fact in the case decision are outlined below:
The Case of Max
Max was boarded at Westchester Animal Clinic in February 2003 for a 10-day rabies observation period. At the time he was boarded, he weighed 158 pounds. 10 days later, when his owners picked him up, Max's weight was down to 130 pounds, and he had "numerous open sores, swollen legs, dehydration, and significant weight loss." The owners took Max to another vet, who declared Max to be "in extremely critical condition."
The new vet found that Max was "very depressed, dehydrated, weak, having trouble walking, left hind paw dripping serum and blood, left elbow-also oozing serum and blood. All four limbs are edematous, especially left which is swollen all the way to the elbow. There is an open wound in the elbow."
According to the findings, during the entire 10 days Max was under Reed's care at Westchester, there were no exmainations or care notes made for him. Although Reed had ordered a daily aspirin regimen for Max, it says, there is no documentation that the drug was ever given to Max.
The Case of Georgie, Peanut, and Gracie
Later in 2003, the owners of dogs Georgie, Peanut, and Gracie boarded their dogs with Reed at Westchester so they could go away on vacation.
The dogs owners asked that Peanut and Gracie be put in separate cages. Also, Georgie was on seizure control medications, and the owners asked that Georgie be given those medications.
In spite of the owners request, Reed put Peanut and Gracie in a cage together. The next morning, boththe dogs were found dead in their cage. The vet didn't notify the emergency contact about this until the next day.
Meanwhile, Georgie -- the dog who was supposed to be on seizure meds -- developed kennel cough after two nights boarding at Westchester. When the Board asked Reed where the records were that showed Georgie had been given her seizure medications, Reed told them that the records that the records had been "intentionally destroyed."
The board also found that Reed was allowing technicians and kennel workers to dispense medications.
The Story of Pixie and Miss Thing
In fall 2003 Pixie and Miss Thing's owners, who had adopted the two cats from the humane society, took them into Westchester for a spay and declaw.
The day after the owner picked them up, the owner saw that both cats were bleeding severely from their front paws. So, the owner took Pixie and Miss Thing to another vet to have them looked at. The new vet found that Pixie was hemorrhaging from both front paws. The Findings state that "phalanges from the right paw extended through the skin" (I think this means her bones were sticking out!). "Two paw pads had more than fifty percent of the tissue missing, and the other pads were cut. "
The vet also found that the other cat, Miss Thing, was also hemorrhaging from both frong paws. Many of her paw pads were cut with tissue missing.
In these cases, the Board found that Reed violated three statutes of the veterinary code. You would think after such a long and shocking history, the Board would want to protect the public and their pets by taking away this vets license once and for all, wouldn't you?
Yet, all they did was make him pay a $750 fine and the investigation costs (less than $100) and put him on probation for a year. Probation this time is just as meaningless as it was last time - Reed is still practising. Reed is still seeing -- and endangering -- pets.
Is he seeing YOUR pets?
Friday, February 15, 2008
Zeke's human had brought him to see Lacy because of vomiting and diarrhea. You'd think a vet would handle a dog -- especially a small dog like a dachshund, especially one who is sick -- with compassion. But instead, as Vet Board Findings of Fact show, this isn't how Lacy treated Zeke.
"While preparing for the examination," the Board findings state, the owner "tried to place a muzzle on 'Zeke' but was unsuccessful. Dr. Lacy picked the struggling dog up by the jaws and said: 'I've had enough of this.' The dog began to whine and scream" [wouldn't you whine and scream if somebody picked you up by the jaws?] and the owner thought that "Zeke was biting his tongue. Dr. Lacy then roughly threw the dog onto the exam table and the dog defecated on the table and on Dr. Lacy [and the owner]. At the end of the exam, he told [the owner], 'that dog is psycho."
Um, dude, the DOG IS NOT THE ONE WHO IS PSYCHO!!!!!!
Oh, he called the owner later and apologized for "losing his temper" -- but is there ever an excuse for a veterinarian to lose his temper with an innocent, small, essentially helpless patient?
All that reprehensible behavior and guess what?
The board issued him a letter of INFORMAL REPRIMAND. That's it. No fine, no suspension. Just a slap on the wrist, and not even a "formal" one at that.
The Texas Vet Board sucks!!!
So does Dr. "psycho" Lacy!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
A breeder of miniature Australian Shepherds took her litter of seven puppies to Dr. Whate in June of 2004. White did the tail-docking procedure on these pups, but later, when the President of the North American Miniature Australian Shepherd club save them, he noted that the tails were too long, and that at that length the dogs would be disqualified from the show ring.
When the owner called Dr. White, he agreed to redo the docks. The owner took five of the puppies back for this second procedure.
The Factual Summary in this case states that Dr. White gave the puppies the sedative xylazine, but did not record the dose, and then used halothane gas as an anesthesia. The board noted that White did not use any pain control medication before, during, or after the tail amputation.
The owner was "shocked when she returned to pick up her pups [and saw] how short the tails were and the severe bleeding that was present. The receptionist told [the owner] to use flour to control the bleeding . . . Also, they did not send any pain medication or e-collars to prevent chewing at the surgical sites by the pups and told [the owner] not to offer food or water until evening."
The owner was not comfortable with these instructions, and took the puppies to another clinic. "The personnel there were shocked at the home care instructions regarding no food or wather for so long in the hot weather with pups at their age . . . they also advised to use 1/2 baby aspirin for pain control . . . "
"Upon further examination . . . [the owner] found that pup #4 had not been shaved in teh area of surgery and that there were only 1-2 very tight sutures in each tail. AT this time they took photos of all the pup's tails . . . The photos depict a very aggressive tail amputation and pup #4 had not been prepared with hair removal . . . . [the owner] took [two of the pups to another veterinarian who] examined the pups and . . felt the tails had been cut to short to be safe for good healing and to avoid potential nerve damage. [The vet] determined there was not enough vital tissue present to close the area and that the infection was a real concern."
The owner had to make several subsequent visits to other vets to get treatment for the puppies, including debriding "necrotic tissue", suturing and wound care, and antibiotic treatments.
The Board, upon review of this case, issued three allegations against Dr. White. In the first allegation (dealing with malpractice or negligence and unprofessional conduct), the Board said "Had Dr. White actually measured the tails and used the anus as a guide for appropriate length, the complications of dehiscence and infection could have been avoided. Having a consent form with a specific description of the exact procedure and lengths of tail detailed could have prevented making the tails so short."
In their second allegation, the board noted that White had "Medical records with no vitals, no history, no plan, no dosages of drugs used, and no concense forms . . . " The cited failure to comply with recordkeeping requirements, unprofessional conduct, and violations of rultes desaling with consent forms.
In the third allegation, the Board noted that "Dr. White did not provide pain control to the pups before, during or after amputation of their tails . . . .Dr. White did not attept to prevent the pps from chewing at their surgical sites by use fo an elizabethan collar. It is reasonable to suspect that pain may have contributed to the puppies chewing on their surgical sites . . . . "
For this allegation the board cited malpractice or negligence and unprofessional conduct.
The Idaho Board put White on probation for a year, ordered him to write a letter of apology to the owners, ordered him to pay a total of $1,475 ($715 to reimburse them for investigatiom costs, and $750 administrative fine); ordered that there would be two unnannounced inspections of his practice in the next year and that White must take a combined total of 10 hours of continuing education in 1) anesthesia, surgery, pain management and aseptic surgical procedres and 2) recordkeeping.
Of all the vet boards I've ever seen, Idaho is the only one that does not suck.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Diabetic Cat Suffers Cerebral Injury from Hypoglycemia and Hypoxia while in the "Care" of Unlicensed, Unsupervised Staff of Vet Candace Olson
At that time, "Dr. Olson . . .represented that she had additional training in the care of diabetic cats," which was one of the reasons the owner selected her.
But Dr. Olson wasn't caring for Dazee -- she left town. Who did she entrust with the care of Dazee? Not her licensed veterinary technician either -- Olson says that the licensed technician was not on duty when Dazee was there. So, we are left to conclude that the "employee" left to care for Dazee was an unlicensed person without formal training.
As you may know, insulin is a life-saving, but potentially very dangerous drug. Exact dosing is very important, and it is also important for those caring for diabetics to know exactly what trouble signs to watch for, and how to deal with emergencies. But apparently, that was not the case here.
A few days after she was left at Greenbriar, an "employee" came in and found Dazee "lying on her side with her head back, and only her legs moving. This employee stated that Dr. Olson failed to leave instructions regarding Dazee's insulin dosage and eating" [the fact that Dazee must eat before getting her shots].
When the employee contacted Dr. Olson she told the employee to take Dazee to Pender Veterinary Clinic. When she arrived Dazee was seizing, although her blood sugar was 66.9 (normal range). The Pender vet consulted with a neurologist and they concluded that Dazee had suffered brain damaged from hypoglycemia and hypoxia. Dazee's owner took her home, but she died a few weeks later.
In the investigation, the Board found that Dazee's blood sugar was never tested before she was given her insulin shots. An insulin overdose could have caused all of the brain damage that Dazee suffered. Moreover, Olson had left Dazee in the care of an unlicensed individual.
Clearly, this is not the level of care Dazee's human loved one was counting on when she selected this self-proclaimed "feline diabetes expert" to care for her cat. And now, Dazee is dead.
So what is appropriate discipline for such an action anyway?
Well, the State Board fined Dr. Olson only $500.
The website of Dr. Olson's clinic, Greenbriar, continues to market its "posh cat boarding" facilities, and also has brochures alleging that they take "special care" and "one-on-one" care for your pet and that their staff are "well-trained." Dr. Olson's profile says that she pays attention to the "smallest details" for your pet. Hmmm, none of this is consistent with what happened to Dazee in her care.
So, what do you believe -- marketing claims, or experience?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
After Vet Overinflates Tracheal Tube Balloon, Cat Dies of Conditon that Has Been Associated with Ruptured Trachea
The owner brought in a 10-year old boy kitty, who was gagging, "pawing at the throat," and vomiting phlegm.
Vet Carey Johnson did a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed that the cat's stomach was "air filled and displaced behind the diaphragm." The cat also had a "slightly elevated trachea."
Johnson then "administered hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting which produced only foam." Johnson "then injected ketamine/xylazine and acepromazine to induce vomiting and only a small amount of clear fluid was obtained."
Johnson "did not record the dosage amounts of the drugs administered to the cat in either the controlled substances log or the patient record."
Then, Johnson decided to put an "endotracheal" tube down the cats throat while she did an oral examination.
"During placement of the endotracheal tube, [Johnson] inflated the balloon cuff to the point that rupture of the trachea may have occurred. . . . Subseqent radiographs [xrays] taken by [Johnson] reveal an over inflated balloon cuff. [Johnson] did not recognize the over inflation upon review of the radiograph [xray]."
The cat deveoped a "pneumothorax" and died the next morning.
OK, so you might be wondering: What is a pneumothorax, and did the vet cause this with the overinflation of the tracheal tube, thus perhaps causing the cats death?
PNEUMOTHORAX: WHEN AIR ACCUMULATES BETWEEN THE LUNG AND THE CHEST WALL, CAUSING THE LUNG TO BE COMPRESSED (COLLAPSED), AND CAN COMPROMISE THE HEART FUNCTION LEADING TO POSSIBLE RESPIRATORY OR CARDIAC ARREST. http://www.ctshearts.com/Terminology.asp
What can cause "pneumothorax?"
Check out this abstract in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery:
"Tracheobronchial rupture after tracheal intubation has been infrequently reported . . . Overinflation of the tracheal cuff was speculated to be a frequent cause of the tracheal damage because the lesion was always a linear laceration of the posterior membranous wall. The diagnosis was suspected on the basis of common signs such as subcutaneous emphysema, respiratory distress, pneumomediastnum and pneumothorax. . . . Tracheal intubation–related airways ruptures are rare but probably underestimated. Early recognition and emergent repair are essential because failure to do so could result in potentially lethal events."
Can you imagine being this poor cat? You are brought into the vet sick, the give you medicine (who knows how much!) to make you puke, then the shove a tube down your throat and inflate it until it "may have" ruptured your bronchial airway? Air leaks around your lungs until your lungs collapse, you can't breathe, and you die?
The Board found that Johnson's "conduct constituted a violation of Wis. Adm. Code Sec. VE 7.06 (1) in that she failed to properly manage the patient’s airway by failing to properly inflate the balloon cuff on the endotracheal tube and that she failed to recognize on subsequent radiograph the over inflation which may have resulted in rupture of the trachea."
They keep saying "may have." But the cat died with pneumothorax, a known complication of overinflating the tracheal tube ballon and thus causing "tracheobronchial rupture." What do you thinkk -- do you think the vet board really knows that this vets actions caused this cat to die? What does it sound like to YOU?
So what punishment did the vet board give this vet? They made her take 7 hours of classes and pay them the investigation costs (only $550). Do you think that's enough?
Monday, February 11, 2008
Vermont Vet Paeplow Found to Have Committed Unprofessional Conduct when Cat Left Without Monitoring Dies After Dental
Here are excerpts from the Vet Board's Findings in the case of the unnamed cat:
"On or about May 3, 2004 Dr. [John] Paeplow performed a routine dental cleaning on a cat belonging to the complainant, E.H. He began the procedure at around 10:00 am.
The procedure was performed under a general anesthetic. Dr. Paeplow used an injectible anesthetic, Ketamine. One of the effects of this type of drug is hypothermia.
The drug is measured according to the weight of the animal.
He testified that he did not remember where he got the information about the dosage he used. He said it was so long ago he could not remember the origin of information. The Board finds that Dr. Paeplow relied on old information."
[Comment: The Board's focus on the dosage used cannot be for no reason. Where there is smoke, suspect fire. Does the Board infer here that they believe too high a dose may have been given????]
"The recovery room was heated. Dr. Paeoplow could not say if he used a heater for the cat or not.
Dr. Paeplow did monitor the cat until 12:00 noon. At that time the cat appeared to be well on its way to recovering from anesthesia. It had awakened, its eyes were open and its head bobbed. It moved in its cage. It appeared to be recovering normally."
[Comment: Clearly, that is the vet's account. As we will soon see, he then left the office and the cat was not monitored, and the cat died. As a consumer, I have to question whether or not his account of seeing the cat start to recover before he left is true. If he needed excuses for leaving, if there were no witnesses to the contrary, and if he was willing to lie -- he could simply claim that he saw the cat recovering to minimize the appearance of negligence.]
"Dr. Paeplow testified that in his 38 years of practice including thousands of anesthesia administrations, he had not ever seen a cat that had reached the point of recovery he saw in this cat and then fail to fully recover from the anesthesia."
"Dr. Paeplow left his office for lunch with Ms. Marcotte, another employee at the practice.
D.B., a recent hire at the office, was left at the practice."
[Comment: As we will later learn, D.B. is a receptionist -- NOT a veterinary technician.]
"D.B. was not trained in anesthesia monitoring and post procedure monitoring.
While Dr. Paeplow was out of the office, D.B. left the office for an hour and a half, leaving the cat unattended."
"At some time between noon and 2:40 the cat died. The cause of death was not clear. No post mortem was conducted."
"At approximately 2:40 p.m. that day, E.H. [the owner] called Dr. Paeplow's office. The receptionist, D.B., told E.H. that she could come pick up the cat.
E.H. arrived at 2:55 p.m.
D.B. took E.H. back to where the cat was and found it dead.
[Comment: Please note the time. This cat has gone without competent veterinary monitoring for 3 whole hours. Do you think it would have made a difference if someone had given a damn, to check on this cat, to help this cat, to make sure this cat had competent and capable people there to help it???? They might have been able to save it's life, instead it was left without veterinary monitoring and died.]
"This was extremely upsetting for E.H. [owner]. Dr. Paeplow described it as a "horrendous scene."
[Um, are we supposed to feel sorry for these people that the client made a "scene" when the receptionist takes her back to get her cold, dead cat?]
"Dr. Paeplow showed up moments later."
[Comment: What exactly was Dr. Paeplow doing on his lunch with Ms. Marcotte that took 3 hours?????]
"Dr. Paeplow felt the cat and described it as 'cold' and 'stiffening.'
"After this incident Dr. Paeplow consulted with another veterinarian who advised that one should monitor an animal until it is able to stand on it's feet."
[Um, this guy had been practising for 38 years and he didn't know that? How many dead pets haven't we heard about?]
"At the hearing Dr. Paeplow demonstrated remorse for the incident. He took the initiative to reevaluate his office procedures. He took full responsibility for the course of events."
[Well, that's something.]
The Board concluded:
"By leaving the practice before the cat was able to stand on its feet, Dr. Paeplow failed to properly monitor the cat's recovery from anesthetics. He relied on information and used procedures which he admitted were old. This is a failure to conform to the essential standards of acceptable prevailing practice."
"By leaving D.B. [the receptionist] at the practice, when D.B. was not qualified to monitor the cat and its recovery, Dr. Paeplow delegated responsibilities to a person who was not qualified . . . failure to conform to the essential standards of acceptable and prevailing practice.
"This is unprofessional conduct."
Let this story serve as a warning to all pet owners: Even when you think the procedure is routine, otherwise healthy pets die during routine veterinary procedures all the time. If anesthesia is involved, the risk is greater. Please make sure you KNOW EXACTLY WHO will be at the practice when your pet gets a dental or another routine procedure. If needed, physically stay there to make sure they are on top of it. Ask questions about their anesthetic protocol -- who will be monitoring the anesthesia and recovery, what drugs will be used. Get online and ask in veterinary communities if these protocols are standard.
I can tell you that when my cats have dentals, they are given isoflourane and they are intubated to keep their airways open, and are on an IV drip in case something goes wrong and they need to be given some drugs. The veterinary technicians at the place I now use are all licensed. The vet calls me the minute the procedure is done. This is all because I had to learn the hard way. Don't let a story like the one above happen to you or your pet.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
In 2005, Jennifer Malecki took her beloved purebred pub, Kodi, to the Banfield Veterinary Hospital on Habison Boulevard in Columbia, South Carolina for a vaccine. Ms. Malecki informed the staff there that Kodi had suffered vaccine reactions in the past. Ms. Malecki left Kodi there in the care of veterinarian Angela Hazard.
Approximately 2 hours later Banfield called her to tell her that Kodi was dead.
Ms. Malecki filed a complaint with the Board in 2005, and the Vet Board then issued a formal complaint against Hazard.
In their formal complaint, the Board said:
". . . the allegations, if true, constitute professonal misconduct . . . on information and belief, Respondent has engaged in certain conduct that violates provisions of the South Carolina Veterinary Medicine Practice Act . . . and the rules and regulatons of hte Board, including commission of the following acts and their consequences:
A. On or about March 1, 2005, Respondent provided treatment to a male pug "Kodi" owned by Jennifer Maleki. Respondent had knowledge that the pug has suffered allergic reactions to vaccines in the past. Respondent provided vaccinations consisting of rabies, leptospirosis (4-way), distempter and corona at 9:45. There are no additional documented observations of the animal until 11:30. Respondent failed to document treatment of the patient between 9:45 and 11:30. Respondent further failed to properly monitor the patient subsequent within a reasonable interval after vaccinations of an animal known to suffer allergic reactions to vaccinations."
B. Respondent made attempts to treat the adverse reactions to the vaccinations. Respondent attempted to place an IV catheter. Respondent further provided subcutaneous injections of dexamethasone" [a steroid] "and diphenhydramine" [an antihistamine]. "Respondent did not attempt techniques such as endotracheal intubation" [which, I presume, would have kept Kodi's airway from closing up] "resuscitative medications, chest compressions, intracardiac administration of medications, or CPR. This conduct fails to meet the appropriate standard of care."
In her original response to this complaint, Hazard and her lawyer denied most of it. They called the death of Kodi "an intervening act of God or unavoidable natural occurrence" that was "not the result of any negligence on the part of Dr. Hazard." This was in September, 2006.
However, in April 2007, Hazard signed a consent agreement with the Board, admitting that "she failed to meet the requisite standard of care in her treatment of . . . "Kodi" as alleged in the Formal Complaint . . . "
Was Hazard knowingly lying when she denied responsibility and called the death of Kodi an "act of God?"
It seems evident that although she was told that Kodi had vaccine reactions, Kodi was nonetheless given vaccines and then not monitored for over an hour and a half.
Is that responsible?
Kodi had a reaction. Kodi died. Was that an "act of God" or the act of an irresponsible vet?
One thing I find interesting about the Board decision is that although they name Hazard they don't name the hospital at which this all happened -- Banfield. In some decisions, they do name the hospital. Why not here? Are they trying to protect the big bad corporate giant Banfield? Are they afraid of Banfield?
When a vet does something like this, is the vet alone responsible, or is the management of the veterinary hospital also responsible? After all, the Board notes that there is no evidence Kodi was monitored for over an hour and a half, even though he was known to have vaccine reactions. Who is setting the standards at these places?
The pet owner's account:
The Board Decision:
Saturday, February 9, 2008
In October 2006 Dorsam signed a "consent" agreement with the Board in which he admitted that "he failed to meet the requisite standard of care in his treatment of "Jake" Lash, an eight (8) year old Bull Mastiff."
Dorsam diagnosed Jake with "gastric dilation and volvulus" -- GDV or "bloat" -- when he was brought into Mt. Pleasant Emergency Veterinary Hospital by his owner in September 2005. The next day he performed surgery on Jake.
Two days later, Jake's owner was concerned by drainage from the wound, took Jake back to Mt. Pleasant. Jake was kept overnight and then was sent to another hospital - Veterinary Surgical Care -- the following morning when Mt. Pleasant Emergency Veterinary Hospital closed.
A vet at the new hospital -- Henri Bianucci -- evaluated Jake and recommended exploratory surgery. It was then that Dr. Dorsam's serious surgical errors became evident.
Dr. Bianucci discovered that Jake's incision was ruptured, that "the colon was lacerated and had the remnants of a mattress suture in it adjacent to and apparently the cause of the laceration, the abdomen was filled with foul smelling effusion, and his spleen had a six (6) - eight (8) centimeter mass at the tail end." Jake went into a cardiac arrest on the table during this surgery and could not be revived.
Dorsam later, in a letter to the board, admitted that he failed to "pexy" Jake's stomach (I looked up that word -- it means surgical fixation of an organ) and that he had "involved" the colon during the procedure. He also admitted that he had inadvertently cut the colon which led to "leakage of the colon fluid into the abdomen, causing diffuse peritonitis. [Dorsam] admits that he failed to make every effort to practice veterinary medicine with the highest regard for the patient."
So, sounds like the vet basically killed this dog, right?
Poor Jake had crap flowing out into his stomach because his colon was cut.
So, how much regard did the Vet Board show the patient?
They fined the vet $500 and made him take some continuing education in surgery. And pay the cost of their investigation. But did they make him lose one day of work? Did they suspend him?
Friday, February 8, 2008
New York Vet, Convicted of Perpetrating Animal Cruelty on the Granddaughter of Seattle Slew (But He Can Still Practice . . . )
On June 1, 2006, veterinarian Dr. Ronald J. Peters was convicted of Animal Cruelty in Washington County Court in the State of New York. The case involved two horses -- one a mare who is the Granddaughter of Seattle Slew, and her foal. The veterinary board document provides just a few details of the case that gave rise to this charge and conviction, as follows:
"The facts surrounding said crime at that at the Hudson Falls auction in April 2005, respondent purchased a pregnant mare horse, which was in poor condition at the time of purchase."
(This statement in the vet board document contradicts the claims of the horse's former owner. It seems the vet boards routinely take the vets word for everything when a non-veterinarian has a different story -- even this guy.)
The Board document continues:
"He then unjusifiably failed to provide the horse with necessary sustenance resulting in a deterioration of the mare and thereafter the foal's condition." In the statement of charges, the board specifically says that Peters "failed to provide a mare and foal with necessary sustenance, food or drink."
(Like most Board documents, this one doesn't say what happened to the horses. But with a little googling, I learned that the two horses were doing OK -- no thanks to the vet of course. They were bought by an Argyle horse rescue group, Double L Stable Equine Rescue. They were named Delta Dawn (the mom) and Willie (the foal). You can see pics of them here: http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=5196506).
In 2005 the courts sentenced Peters to 3 year's probation in the horse cruelty case. If this probation began at the time of sentencing (which was July 11, 2006) it would continue until July 11, 2009.
In their own investigation of this cse, the veterinary board recommended a penalty of 24 months suspension -- but also recommended that all but 9 months of that suspension should be "stayed." In other words, after 9 months he can practice again. They also fined him $1,000.
This means the guy can practice again around July 2008 -- while still on probation for animal cruelty.
In fact this was not Peters first conviction: According to the North Country Gazette:
"In 1999, Peters was convicted of several misdemeanors for falsely billing the town of Greenwich for disposing of stray dogs. Instead of proper disposal, Peters dumped them on the side of a road."
Subsequent to that, the state office of professional discipline put him on probation for 2 years.
A repeat offender, multiple times on probation, Yet the Board still hasn't seen fit to yank his license. Instead, they fine him $1,000 and stay all but 9 months of his suspension.
Some insight into this guys mind is provided in his statements to the Board. Peters was allowed to write the Board and make recommendations about the penalty to be imposed if he should be found guilty. The written response he submitted upon being given this opportunity is truly astounding. He wrote:
"We live in a world torn by war, ripped by scandal and oppressed by high taxes and sky rocketing energy cost."
Um, what does that have to do with your conviction on animal cruelty????
[He goes on in this vein for a bit . . . blah blah blah]
"I work very diligently to practice medicine & surgery, to the best of my ability to not let me continue to practice would make me a poorer not a better veterinarian in the long run."
Commentary: Yes, of course, it's all about YOU.
He then launches into a dissertation on education -- perhaps because the Veterinary Board operates for some odd reason under the State Education Department in New York -- saying:
". . . in the future I would direct my efforts more toward those with the talent and commitment to help promote education. (By education I mean those looking for honest accurate answers based on Humans, animals & facts to our problems.) I think we have a great state & a great nation but knowledge, honesty, commitment & kindness are not always in control. I'm not saying you can always be kind but you should always try to be. We live in an imperfect world. I feel we should use our knowledge, commitment & concern to make it better deceit & maliciousness make it worse."
I will just let that speak for itself.
But back to the real concern: those who can't speak for themselves. Because sadly, another horse belonging to Peters has since met a very bad fate. The Times Union reported the following on September 15, 2007:
"A car carrying an Argyle couple collided with the horse at 10 p.m. Thursday. Washington County sheriff's deputies said the horse escaped from the farm where veterinarian Ron Peters lives. Peters has not been charged in the car accident, but District Attorney Kevin Kortright said the vet could be held liable in civil court.
The horse was killed and the passenger of the car, Sherry Smith of Miller Road, was unconscious at the scene and flown to Albany Medical Center Hospital. . . . "
The article also provided this synopsis of Peters past:
"Peters was found guilty in 1999 of forgery and larceny and in 2005 of cruelty to animals. In the first case, Peters dumped the body of at least one dog on the side of the road instead of cremating it as he had been paid $25 to do after he removed the head and sent it to a state lab for rabies testing. Two years ago, a jury found Peters guilty of allowing a granddaughter of Seattle Slew to suffer in his care."
The question yet again is: WHAT in the world does a vet have to do in order to have his license taken away by a veterinary board?
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Ghulam Dastgir has the rare distinction of having had two veterinary board actions taken on his license within a 1-year period. These were in the case of Rae-Rae the Dalmation and T-Jay the Yorkshire Terrier.
Dr. Dastgir owns Suitland Animal Clinic in Suitland, Maryland and Airpark Animal Hospital in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Each of these business is cited in one of the board decisions. He also apparently worked at a third clinic, called "Bonifant."
The Treatment and Death of T'Jay, the 4-month old Teacup Yorkie. T'Jay, the 4-month old TeacupYorkie puppy was originally brough to Dr. Dastgir for his booster shot. No veterinarian was at the hospital when she arrived. So, Dr. Dastgir's daughter - who is not a veterinarian or, apparently a licensed vet tech -- gave the shot to T'Jay.
Shortly thereafter, T'Jay "became lethargic and unresponsive." The owner called Dr. Dhastgir, who told her to bring T'Jay over to the other hospital where he was working. When he got there, he gave T'Jay 1 mg of torbutrol -- an opiate. He sent T'Jay home. Later that night, T'Jay vomited and had diarrhea, and the owner brought him back in.
Then, Dr. Dastgir gave T'Jay 1/2 cc of Gentocin. He did this without recording the concentration of the drug, and the Board says that the "omission is problematic because Gentocin, which comes in two different concentrations, is a weight-dependent medication . . . the dosage or amount that an animal should receive is dependent on weight.
"Dr. Dastgir never weighed T'Jay. [His owner] however estimated that T'Jay weighed less than two pounds"
"The amout of Gentocin that Dr. Dastgir administered to T'Jay exceeded the recommended dosage for a dog T'Jay's size . . . T'Jay died during the night."
The Board found Dastgir in violation of requirements that he supervise non-veterinary staff for allowing his daughter to administer medications without supervision; they also found him to have committed a "record-keeping" violation by failing to write down the dosage or amount of Gentocin given to T'Jay.
Commentary: I think you will agree if you read the above that it seems clear that things more serious than record-keeping violations went on. It is hard to read the above and come to any other conclusion other than that the dog had received an overdose -- in fact, the Board says that no matter which concentration he used, the amount given was excessive. Why didn't the board find Dastgir in violation of provisions against negligence or standard of care? Perhaps becase "record-keeping sounds so much less serious. I can hear them now: "The problem is not that you gave a drug overdose . . the problem is that you failed to document the overdose." Oh, gee whiz, and now the little 4 month old puppy is dead.
RaeRae's Bad Stay. "RaeRae's" owner brought 13-year old Rae Rae to Airpark Animal Hospital for boarding because she was experiencing health problems and was unable to care for RaeRae for a time.
More than a week after dropping RaeRae off, her owner went to visit RaeRae. According to the board documents, she noticed that Rae Rae was nervous and dirty. Rae Rae's owner removed RaeRae but then returned and boarded her again, "after discussing the dog's care with Dr. Dastgir."
For the first several weeks, RaeRae's owner continued to visit and would clean RaeRae's cage when she came. However, her health condition prevented her from visiting Rae Rae the following month. The next time she arrived to visit, she "observed that RaeRae was very skinny, filthy, and wet from lying in her own urine. [She] also observed that RaeRae had no food or water in her cage. She further observed that RaeRae could not stand up, and had an open bedsore on her leg."
The Dr. agreed to treat RaeRae's sore, but three days later the owner returned, and saw that the sore was larger and deeper. She also saw a second wound. "Dr. Dastgir advised [the owner] that RaeRae was paralyed, and would never walk again, and that it was time to euthanize her. "
That day the owner took RaeRae to another veterinary hospital, where she was treated. The new vet who assessed RaeRae noted "that RaeRae: (a) could not walk on entry, but with help was able to stand up and hobble; (b) had a large decubitus ulcer on her right hip and another debucitus ulcer on her right tarsus;" [bed sores]; "was emaciated, but really wanted to eat; and (d) really reeked of urine." The vet treated RaeRae. The Board found "RaeRae [had not been receiving] proper care . . . from Dr. Dastgir and his staff."
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Summer of 2003 was unfortunately very eventful for the patients of San Antonio vet Jack Burchers. And for two dogs, Diamond and Gizmo, it was their last summer.
Diamond. When Diamond, the Golden Retriever puppy, was brought to Dr. Burchers for her puppy vaccinations, she was coughing. Dr. Burchers gave the vaccinations and informed Diamond's family that the "cough was not a concern" at that time.
A month later, Diamond's family brought Diamond back as she was still coughing. Dr. Burchers then prescribed a dose of antibiotics that was twice the dose that should have been given to a dog her size - - a drug overdose.
Over the next several days Diamond got much sicker, until she was "in a weakened state and had difficulty breathing." The family took her to a different vet. This vet did a fecal test which showed intestinal parasites, and took x-rays, which indicated possible pneumonia. They gave her a transfusion, different antibiotics, and supportive care.
In spite of this care the next day, Diamond died.
Gizmo. Gizmo the dog was in labor when her owner brought her in to Dr. Burchers. Dr. Burchers did a C-section, delivering seven puppies, three of whom died. He also performed an ovariohysterectomy, however, he did not do any pre-op bloodwork.
After the procedure Dr. Burchers used "catgut" stitches and did not prescribe antibiotics.
Approximately 1 week later, Gizmo's family brought her back to Dr. Burchers because they saw that she was bleeding from her incision. Dr. Burcher's said that she had a "hernia" and that part of the omentum (peritoneum) was protruding from the incision site. He performed surgery to fix the hernia but Gizmo stopped breathing during or after the procedure.
The vet board found, in their investigation of this case, that:
Dr. Burchers did not give any supportive fluid therapy to Gizmo prior to either of the surgeries
- Dr. Burchers did not do any pre-anesthetic bloodwork, nor did he suggest pre-anesthetic bloodwork
- No written consent forms were used
- Dr. Burchers did not prescribe any antibiotics for Gizmo after her C-section and hysterectomy
- Dr. Burchers did not use all available means to revive the puppies that died
- During the C-section, the amount of anesthesia Dr. Burchers had used was "excessive and could have led to fetal suppression." (Meaning, I presume, could have contributed to the death of the puppies.)
- Dr. Burchers did not use all available means to revive Gizmo when she stopped breathing after the hernia surgery.
- Dr. Burchers' use of catgut to suture Gizmo could have contributed to her developing a hernia.
- Dr. Burchers records contain "no entries on the anesthesia procedures, anesthetic agents, medications, and other details of surgery.
Go right back to "burchering" his patients.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
"Dr. Hayden failed to perform a spay on a dog within the standard of practice of veterinary medicine by ligating both ureters resulting in kidney failure. That conduct is a violation of NRS 638.140 (6), negligence . . . There is no physical examination information prior to the administration of anesthesia or vaccinations."
OK, so I had to look up some of these terms in case you were wondering: the ureter is the tube that takes the urine from the kidney to the bladder. To ligate means to tie. So, if both your ureters are tied off . . .
The findings say that this caused the dog to have kidney failure. Like many Board findings, it does not say whether the dog died, but what do you think? If you search the net for "ligate both ureters" the first things you will see are terminal surgeries on rats. If you make it to page 2 of the Google results, you will find the book, "Practical Gynecology: A Text-Book for Students and Physicians" which tells us: "The most serious injury of the ureter consists in the application of a ligature upon it or upon the tissue about it so that it is laterally compressed. Ligation of both ureters is, without question, fatal . . . "
Then I performed another Google search which yielded some interesting information:
One Lisa Hayden, DVM, is on the Board of Directors for a Nevada Non-Profit called "The Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project." The stated mission of this non-profit is:
"Building the shelter of tomorrow with aggressive spay-neuter today."
Assuming this is the same Lisa Hayden, DVM, I would say she gives a whole different meaning to the term "aggressive spay."
Hayden was placed on probation for a year, fined $500, and ordered to work 16 hours a month with a "collaborative" veterinarian.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Virginia vet Gregory T. Wood, who was "Veterinarian-in-Charge" at Salem Veterinary Hospital in Virginia Beach, Va, was the subject of a Veterinary Board order issued on January 24th, 2006.
The "Findings of Fact" in this order said:
"Staff members report that he is verbally abusive, and, by his own admission, he loses his temper at work."
It further states:
"His technique of injection into the brain is an unnacceptable euthanasia method."
This was not Wood's first recorded disciplinary action by the State Board. It was the third, the prior two being:
-- a Continuing Education violation in 1999
-- a violation for failure to maintain proper records in 1997
I am just left to wonder if his anger management issues have any direct relationship to his chosen method of euthanasia, which apparently involves shoving needles into pets brains.
These Findings of Fact contain little detail regarding the source of the complaint and other circumstances surrounding the complaint that led to discipline. In both the case in 2006 and in 1997, my guess is that the original allegations were very disturbing. How would it come to the Board's attention that this vet was giving shots into the brain to euthanize patients? What is the story of those patients and what did they endure. As for the 1997 recordkeeping violation case, my review of "record keeping violations" in OTHER cases has demonstrated that when recordkeeping violations are found, more disturbing allegations regarding patient care were in the original complaint.
We will never have more insight into the details of these cases, because complaints are not public in Virginia, as in most states, and there is very little detail in the Board's findings of fact.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Vet Boards almost never revoke a veterinary license outright. But sometimes, I guess, even they are shocked into action. And it seems like mobile veterinarian Eugene Kravis did just that.
The California Vet Board's findings tell in painful, horrifying detail the story of four "patients" and Dr. Kravis' treatment of them. They include:
The case of "Daisy Mae," a three year-old springer spaniel on whom Kravis performed surgery -- spay - in his mobile clinic while practising in the Santa Rosa area. "Several hours after Daisy Mae was released, she began moaning," the document says. "Over the next five or six hours Daisy Mae became progressively worse, went into convulsions, and died." A necropsy performed on Daisy Mae showed that "The case of Daisy Mae's death was intra-abdominal hemorrhage caused by loose ligatures on the uterine stump and missing ligatures on the right pedicle. A tied ligature was loose on the uterine stump and no ligature was found on the right pedicle." The Board stated that Kravis' procedure fell below the standard of practice and that specific "failures . . . constituted incompetence in the practice of veterinary medicine and led to Daisy Mae's hemorrhaging and death."
In two other cases, the Board found that Kravis "demonstrated negligence in the practice of veterinary medicine" and "demonstrated incompetence" in the practice of veterinary medicine, respectively.
But perhaps the most horrific case was the fourth described. It is the case of Holly, a border collie/labrador. Holly's owner brought her to Dr. Karvis reporting that Holly had a seizure the day before. Apparently intending to treat Holly for heatstroke and seizures, Kravis "injected 500 ml of Lactated Ringers Solution and 36 mg. of Sleepaway into Holly's abdomen . . . Sleepaway is a euthanasia drug . . .The manufacturer states, 'WARNING. For euthanasia Only. Must Not Be Used for Therapeutic Purposes.' The manufacturer labels Sleepaway with a skull and crossbones and 'POISON.' Sleepaway is highly caustic; it destroys living tissue." The following day, the owner took Holly to another vet. She died that night.
An autopsy was performed on Holly. "The tissues in Holly's abdominal cavity were blackened, chemically burned, fetid and necrotic." The vet board document cites the pathology report which stated, "The generalized necrosis and degeneration is considered to be due to the server irritating action of the components of the improperly used euthanasian soluition [Sleep-Away]. The cause of death is the severe generalized tissue damage that resulted from the injection of the euthanasian solution into the peritoneal cavity."
The board stated: "Sleepaway has no therapeutic use . . . respondent's dilution of Sleepaway likely caused Holly prolonged suffering before her death. His use of Sleepaway on Holly was far below the standard of care and demonstrated incompetence and negligence in the practice of veterinary medicine."
Kravis license was revoked, and he was order to pay Vet Board costs of investigationand prosecution -- an amount in excess of $12,000.
But Kravis had a mobile clinic, and this document states that before coming to California, Kravis was previously licensed in Connecticut and New York. It's hard to imagine another state would issue him a licensed after this, but if a mobile clinic comes to a neighborhood near you, make sure it's not him.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
James Nelson is a practising veterinarian in Pennsylvania. Nelson's elderly client, 76 year-old Betty Voorhies, had brought her 17-year old dog "Lady" to Dr. Nelson for 14 years. Lady was in ill health.
Let's pause for a minute to imagine the bond betweeen a 76 year-old woman and a 17 year-old dog that she has had for that long.
17 is quite old for a dog, and Lady had "lost sight in one eye and had developed breathing problems," according to court documents. Also according to court documents, Dr. Nelson thought that Ms. Voorhies should euthanize Lady, and had told her so.
Ms. Voorhies had made "several appointments for the procedure. However, she changed her mind each time she arrived at Dr. Nelson's office."
(How unusual is that -- for a grieving and attached pet owner to have difficulty going through with a scheduled euthanasia appointment? Not too unusual, it happens all the time.)
These court documents say that "Accordingly, when Ms. Voorhies brought Lady to his office on the day in question Dr. Nelson wanted to get the job done as quickly as possible."
(Does this statement imply that he was rushing?)
With Ms. Voorhies in the room watching, Dr. Nelson did not sedate Lady but went straight to the lethal injection. Court documents say that although Lady was being held by a technician, she was struggling as Dr. Nelson tried to inject lethal solution into her front leg.
Pause to reflect: 76 year-old Ms. Voorhies is watching this.
The first attempt to get the injection into Lady fails, due to the edema and her struggling.
He tries again for the leg. And again, he is unsuccessful.
Pause to reflect: 76 year-old Ms. Voorhies is watching this. And remember - Lady has not been sedated.
Court documents say:
"Finally, Dr. Nelson injected the solution into the dog's jugular vein, causing the dog to howl and collapse."
Pause to reflect: 76 year-old Ms. Voorhies is watching.
Court documents say that after witnessing this, Ms. Voorhies began to cry, and yelled at Dr. Nelson, "accusing him of killing her dog; she demanded that he bring Lady back to life."
Subsequently, Ms. Voorhies filed a complaint with the State of Pennsylvania's Veterinary Board over the "manner in which Lady had been euthanized."
The vet board investigator, Edward Tonelli, called Dr. Nelson in for an investigative interview. During the interview with the Board investigator, Nelson became “angry, loud, and agitated” — and right then and there — called Voorhees, the owner, and tried to persuade her to withdraw her complaint against him. (Or perhaps a stronger word than “persuade” would be more accurate.)
Nelson told Voorhees she would “rot in hell” for what she was trying to do to him. After Voorhees hung up, Nelson called her back two more times, right in front of the investigator. He also called her a “*******wacko” to the Board investigator.
Court documents state that "Dr. Nelson acknowledged to the Board that he continues to pray every night that Ms. Voorhees will rot in hell.”
He prays every night that this elderly woman and long-time client -- who watched her beloved dog of 17 go though what certainly sounds like a traumatic euthanasia with no sedation -- will rot in hell because she filed a complaint against him?
I'm willing to bet that Lady was one of Ms. Voorhies primary companions in her golden years -- if not her most beloved companion. Is it any wonder she found keeping that final appointment so difficult? Is it too much to expect that Nelson would have sedated Lady rather than jabbing the needle with lethal meds into her neck with her presumably aware, agitated, and struggling?
In the absence of that, is it too much to expect that this vet feel compassion for this woman who not only just went through one of the most major losses anyone can go through, but who witnessed it occur in a most traumatic way?
Yet, this guy prays every night for her to rot in hell?
Maybe this is one vet you don't want to book a euthanasia appointment with.
I got news for him on that Hell thing, though . . .