Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pennsylvania: The Vet Who Prayed Nightly that His Client Would "Rot in Hell"

Today's vet is from Pennsylvania.

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 . . .