Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Arizona Veterinarian Barbara Guminski May Have "Ligated Both Ureters" During Spay; Dog Euthanized When Can No Longer Urinate; Court Absolves Vet

For this post, I must remind ALL readers that the things I say here are MY PERSONAL OPINIONS based on review of publicly available documents. In this case, I think Barbara Guminski -- an Arizona Vet -- is a BAD VET. Apparently, so did the notoriously lax Arizona Veterinary Board, when they heard a complaint against her in 2002, and subsequently found her in violation of the Veterinary Practice Act. However, the Superior Court of Arizona -- specifically, the "Honorable" Judge Michael Jones -- did not agree with the Board (and does not agree with me that BARBARA GUMINSKI IS A BAD VET). But surely, if you are a concerned pet owner, you can't read the account of this case and ever feel comfortable allowing her to operate on your pet . . . CAN YOU????

Well you shouldn't, because not only is this case horrifying, but it's not the first time that EVEN THE notoriously lax Arizona Vet Board decided Guminski had violated standards.

Take a look:

In 2002, owners of a Great Dane took their pet to the Spay and Neuter Clinic, where "Dr." Guminski was working, to have their pet spayed. Since this dog is not given a name in the court document, for the sake of having a reference, I will refer to her as "Lovey" -- for I am sure, to her owners/pet parents, that is what she was.

So, they took "Lovey" the Great Dane to be spayed by "Dr." Guminski.

The following morning, "Lovey's" owners took her to an emergency clinic, where she was seen by a vet named Jackman. Dr. Jackman noted that "Lovey" was not urinating.

The following day, "Lovey's" owners took her back to the Spay and Neuter Clinic, where they saw a different vet -- Dr. Morrison. "Lovey" had not urinated since the surgery. She was also ill.

According to the court account, Morrison confronted Guminski, saying that he was concerned that Guminski might have tied off both the ureters by mistake.

Jackman performe surgery, and found that "Lovey's" kidneys were enlarged, and there was no urine in her bladder. (Apparently, the ureters carry the urine to the bladder from the kidneys . . . )

He recommended that "Lovey's" owners euthanize her to spare her suffering, and they did.

They also filed a complaint with the vet board.

Now, getting the Arizona Vet Board to take action against a vet is no small feat. Arizona's Vet Board is notoriously awful, from a consumer perspective. To get a clear picture of exactly how bad the Arizona Veterinary Board is, getta load of this -- taken from the wonderful (though heartbreaking) website, The references to the "Audit" refer to the State's review of the Veterinary Board's effectiveness:

"In the Arizona audit, the dismissal rate of complaints had been as high as 90 percent. Veterinary consultants retained by the Auditor General of the State of Arizona reviewed complaints from fiscal year 1996 and found that as many as one out of every six complaints dismissed should have resulted in some discipline. The Board dismissed a complaint against a veterinarian who inserted a feeding tube into a cat's lungs instead of its stomach. The cat died when food was injected through the tube. The Board dismissed a complaint against a veterinarian who euthanized a dog without the proper consent. In a Board meeting, even though the veterinarian admitted making the error, the Board still dismissed the complaint.

Since January 1, 1998 more than half of the complaints before the Arizona Board were dismissed. In an average year, one license is revoked and usually this is for drug abuse by the DVM, not animal mistreatment. Most penalties are for failure to notify the board of an address change. Only two Tucson-area veterinarians faced probation or more serious discipline in the past five years for animal care or client interaction. The board's own records are incomplete, inconsistent and inaccurate
Source:, June 29, 2003

Here is the piece of information on the Arizona Vet Board that I find most damning, taken directly from the report which can be found at,%20State%20Board%20of/Performance/97-07/97-7.pdf

"While investigating one complaint, the Board investigator found that the veterinarian in question was euthanizing animals with household bleach and other cleaning chemicals, and disposing of the animals in plastic bags while they were still alive. Although the investigator submitted a report regarding these allegations in December 1995, Board members were not made aware of this situation until it was brought to their attention by auditors in November 1996 . . . a review of the investigation file in 1997 found no evidence of investigative action [in this case] since December 1995."

So, I'm figuring you need to have pretty compelling evidence to move the Arizona Vet Board to action, and it is no small feat getting them to do so.

So, back to the Vet Board's findings in the case of "Lovey." The vet board found that Guminski violated the practice act, specifically, sections of the Practice Act related to Unprofessional or Dishonorable Conduct (A.R.S. 32-2232), subsection 11, pertaining to "Malpractice, gross incompetence or gross negligence in the practice of veterinary medicine."

They voted to place Guminski on probation for 4 years, and to order her to take 28 hours of continuing education.

Quite conservatively, I believe, the Board stated in it's decision that:

"Tying off the ureters during a routine spay is below the standard of care since tying off ureters is not part of a spay."

Wow. Understatement of the century. Kinda akin to:

"Piercing both of the patients lungs during heart bypass surgery is below the standard of care since piercing both of the patients lungs is not a part of heart bypass surgery."

So, Guminski -- who had already admitted she may have "ligated" [tied off] "Lovey's" ureters, appealed this decision.

And won.

In making her argument on appeal, the court document indicates, Guminski argued that "Lovey" bled SO MUCH that she couldn't see what she was doing. She called the bleeding "irrepressible." She said she had to "feel" her way around in "Lovey's" abdomen, rather than rely on sight -- presumably implying that is how she may have made the mistake of tying off "Lovey's" ureters carring urine from her kidneys to her bladder rather than the uterine horns she was supposed to tie off.

She also said that when she saw "Lovey" was bleeding this much, she "called for her technician to scrub-in" and attempt to assist her in "controlling the bleed."

Question 1: Why was she doing this surgery withouth a technician already scrubbed in to assist?

Question 2: Was this individual licensed?

Question 3: If no one was there but her and her "technician", why does the Dishonorable Judge Michael D. Jones take this account as FACT? This account of her being faced with SO MUCH IRREPRESSIBLE bleeding that she couldn't see what she was doing?

The court document also states as a fact that Guminski told the owners to take "Lovey" to an emergency clinic for overnight monitoring. I wonder whether or not the owners account sustains this assertion? Or is this another case of Courts accepting as fact the word of a vet against a client EVEN when there is a dead dog on the table [figuratively]?

Essentially, the Dishonorable Judge Jones found that because "Lovey" bled so much, it wasn't a "routine spay" saying: "An abdomen flooded by an incessant bleed, to the extent that a veterinarian surgeon has to use her hands to feel for ligatures, is far from a 'routine spay.'"

OK, I'm an idiot layperson too, and even I can see how stupid that statement is. The ligatures were what she was SUPPOSED to place on the uterine arteries, NOT the things she needed to feel for. She was allegedly "feeling" for pieces associated with the reproductive tract and found ureters instead. Not ligatures. Which wouldn't have been there until she put them there. ON THE URETERS, supposedly, which is not where they were supposed to go.

Jones stated that the "standard of care" was "not relevant" to the "emergency situation" faced by Guminski. Presumably, or rather -- Guminski's account verified only by Guminski herself and the "technician."

Emergency. Standard of Care Irrelevant. Remember those words, and forever associate them with the names of the Dishonorable Michael Jones and the Bad Vet Barbara Guminski.

Hey, how about a Bad Judge Daily. Any takers?

Of particular interest: Guminski apparently tolerates no rebuke from the Vet Board.

In 1999, Guminski was placed on probation by the vet board, as the result of a complaint filed about her treatment of a cat. Guminski asked for another hearing and the Board denied her. Then, Guminski filed for judicial review of the Board's decision to deny her a rehearing. The trial court dismissed her complaint for untimely filing, and she then appealed that decision as well, but the appeals court said "we find no merit in her argument."

Does she seem like a weasely sort of person to you? She does to me. She will say anything to get out of being held accountable, won't she? I bet that is why she says "Lovey" was bleeding so badly she couldn't see.

Oh -- no, not weasely. That's the wrong word. It's an insult to weasels. Sorry, cute little weasels. Maybe . . . slimy? Unnaccountable? Irresponsible?

A web search on Guminski associates her with Bethany Animal Hospital in Phoenix.


Other Links:
Quote: "If you ligate both ureters, the dog will go into anuric renal failure."
Quote: "Accidental ligation of a ureter, which can result in hydronephrosis or atrophy of the kidney, is easily preventable by careful identification of the uterine horns, uterine body, and cervix prior to ligation of the uterine body, and avoidance of ligation of any extraneous peribladder fat which may contain a ureter."

Other cases where vets ligated ureters:
X-rays of a dog who had one ureter ligated (tied off during a spay); it's right kidney had to be removed.

Interesting Vet Student Discussion which Includes the Issue of Ligated Ureters:

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Do We Do with the Drugged Out Veterinarian, Installment #3

This one from Texas.

Because . . . old habits die hard.

In June 2007, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medicine issued Findings of Fact stating that:

"The Board . . . opened a complaint against Erik Gallegos, D.V.M., San Antonio, for possible illegal prescription of a controlled substance, hydrocodone, for self-use . . . Dr. Gallegos admitted that he had a substance abuse problem and that he had attempted to obtain the hydrocodone for self-use. He also admitted that he had taken buphrenophrine from his clinic for self-use."

Dr. Gallegos surrendered his DPS and DEA certificate. Gallegos entered a peer assistance program for "substance abuse recovery" and signed a 5-year contract to participate in the program and be subject to periodic drug screening.

But 6 months after signing this contract and surrendering his DEA license, Gallegos again tried to obtain hydrocodone for personal use. The Texas Department of Public Safety filed criminal charges against him.

At that time, all the Board did was fine him $500, reprimand him, and give him a "stayed" suspension (that is -- a suspension that is not enforced).

Lo and behold, the Texas Veterinary Board "Notes" released in April 2008 cited yet another violation and enforcement action against Gallegos. The Notes say: "The Board found that Gallegos violated rule 573.62, Violation of a Board Order/Negotiated Settlements, Disciplinary Action: Dr. Gallegos received a 60 month suspension, all of which was stayed and probated, must submit to random drug testing, and a formal reprimand."

Question: When in the heck will the Texas Vet Board ever ENFORCE a suspension? How many times can a vet do the same thing over and over and get NO more severe discipline than the time before?

Isn't this the exact same disciplinary action they took the last time, and yet the guy keeps it up?


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Connecticut Vet Stephen Tobin Fails to Appropriately Tie Off Uterine Arteries in a Spay Patient; Patient Later Dies After Losing Significant Blood

This is yet another botched spay case.

In July of 2003 The Connecticut Veterinary Board issued Findings of Fact in a complaint against veterinarian Stephen Tobin.

In 2001, Tobin performed a spay on "H.S.", a West Highland White Terrier. The Board Findings of Fact state:

" . . . [Tobin] failed to secure the uterine stump with the necessary two ligatures. The only ligature that was used became loose shortly after the surgery. H.S. lost a significant amount of blood through the uterine stump and the pedical that was left after the mass was removed."

When Tobin released H.S. to her owner, she was "unresponsive." 15 to 20 minutes after arriving home, she stopped breathing, and was oozing blood through the incision. Her owner rushed her to another vets, but she was dead on arrival, her death attributed to abdominal bleeding.

The Board found that Tobin's conduct was "negligent, unskillful, and showed poor judgment."

The Board fined Tobin $1,000 and put his license on a 2-year probation, requiring himn to attend classes in anesthesia and surgery.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Louis Grasso, Licensed in Connecticut and NY (Practising in New York); Steroid Sales

bit of Orwellian irony that name is!) fined veterinarian Louis Grasso $5,000 for multiple violations, including those related to the illegal sale of anabolic steroids, and suspended his license for 2 years. But when Grasso didn't pay the fines, the government bent over backwards to cut him slack and give him more time to pay the fine.

On two occasions in 1991, and one occastion in 1993, Grasso sold $2,000, $5,000, and $53,000 worth of anabolic steroids, respectively, to DEA undercover agents while he was licensed as a veterinarian in New York. Grasso pled guilty in district court (in NY) to charges related to the illegal distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Grasso was also licensed in Conntecticut. Although Connecticut also revoked his license, as is usually the case with veterinary boards and veterinarians, they immediately "stayed" the revocation. They did instead suspend Grasso's license for 2 years and fine him the $5,000.

Grasso was given 6 months to pay the $5,000 fine. But when Grasso called the Vet Board and said he couldn't pay the fine by the deadline, they entered into a consent agreement with him which allowed him not to pay anything on the fine until September 1994 -- about 1 year after the original fine. They also allowed him to pay on a schedule or installment plan.

As soon as his suspension period was over, Grasso notified the Vet Board (in October 1995) that he intended to begin practicing veterinary medicine again.

His listed address of practice was 19 Dingee Road, South Salem, New York, 10590.

He is listed with the Golden Shoe Training Center in New York, a "standard bred training facility" for horses:

But the New York State Racing and Wagering Board don't seem too keen to see him involved in their business. In their September 22, 2005 minutes, they said:

On September 22, 2005, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board approved Hearing Officer Russell H. Baller, Jr.’s recommendation that the refusal to license Dr. Louis Grasso, Jr. to participate in pari-mutuel harness racing as a veterinarian applicant be upheld. The refusal was based upon the finding that Dr. Grasso’s experience, character and general fitness are such that his participation in racing is inconsistent with the public interest, convenience and necessity, or with the best interests of racing generally. "

(*Emphasis added)
To read, see

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Michigan Vet Tamara Dawn Lynch: Felony, Drug Diversion

I don't know where how to classify this, but I am tempted to classify it under the infamous "Vets with Anger Management Issues" category. It might also be classified under the category of "blink and you'd have missed it" enforcement actions by state boards.

In October 2006, Michigan Vet Tamara Lynch was "disciplined by the [Veterinary] Board's Disciplinary Subcomittee . . . [for] prescribing medications for herself using her cat's name, and failing to maintain appropriate veterinary records."

In February of 2007, Lynch was convicted of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon for trying to run her ex-husband over with her car. Well, the Vet Board document says she "attempted" to do this, but the court document (charges) says:

"Count 1: Assault with a dangerous weapon (felonious assault)
[Lynch] . . did make an assalt upon George Haynes with a dangerous weapon, to-whit: a motor vehicle, but without intending to commit the crime of murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than the crime of murder."

For this, Lynch was placed on probation for 2 years and fined a mere $720.

The Veterinary Board in Michigan is required to suspend the license of vet's convicted of a felony. The public health code says (emphasis added):

"If a licensee or registrant is convicted of a felony . . . the department shall find that the public health, safety or welfare requires emergency action and, in accordance with sectin 92 of the administrative procedures act of 1969, shall summarily suspend the licensee's license or the registrants registration."

So, as required, the Board issued an order of "summary suspension" on Lynch's license. In the Board's administrative complaint, it also referenced the prior violation of Lynch -- prescribing drugs under her cats name which she took herself.

In its administrative complaint, May 24, 2007, the Board stated that the felony conviction "evidences a lack of good moral character . . . ."

Yet, in a document stamped June 12, 2007 -- about 3 weeks later the Michigan Department of Community Health requested that the summary suspension be DISSOLVED. They declard that Lynch was not a threat to public health, safety, or welfare.

In January, 2008, the Veterinary Board entered into a mutually voluntary consent agreement with Lynch, in which they agreed to keep Lynch's license on probation for 2 years or until her criminal probation was over. In stating its reasons for this decision, the Board said:

"Respondent submitted to a psychological evaluation that was done shortly after her convictoin, with supporting documentation reflecting that she is not a threat to the public. It should be noted that the conviction was not based on a patient-care related issue. Respondent has completed an anger management class and several continuing education courses."

So -- here is the question I have.

Experts have demonstrated that people who abuse, lash out at, attack, torture, [fill in your verb of choice] animals go on to do this to people. For a good explanation of this, see

Why wouldn't the Board be concerned that this connection also goes the other way -- if someone lashes out in anger at a person, tries to run them over with a car, should we not also be concerned that they may lash out in anger at animals? And when their jobs involve handling -- often alone and without witnesses -- the most vulnerable beings, the most vulnerable patients of all, ones who CAN'T later tell you what happened to them -- how could they summarily declare that this person is not a "threat" to health and wellbeing?

Who knows why she did this to her ex. Maybe he cheated on her.

Well, what if your pet gives another staff member more attention than it does to her? Will she hit him?

Maybe they had an argument over money.

If one of her clients has difficulty paying a bill, or argues with her over charges, will she accidentally-on-purpose assault their animal?

Or - heaven forbid -- a scared animal who is in pain and doesn't understand what is being done to him or her should actually growl, hiss, or bite Ms. Lynch. What then????????????? How will Ms. Anger-Management-Issues vet react then? With no one watching? And a patient who can't talk about it later?

Oh, and don't forget that little bit about her writing prescriptions for her cat for drugs that she herself was taking. That was before she tried to run her husband over with a car.

Anyway, is this vet a chance YOU want to take?

A web search today shows a "Tamara Lynch" working at Animal Emergency Hospital in Macomb, Michigan. I can't promise you its the same person, but it seems like a good guess.


Update:  Lynch Response to this Blog.    I am adding this link to permit interested parties to read the response posted by Lynch.  My posting this link in my mind does not negate the foregoing, albeit, the blog on Tamara Lynch above is not anywhere near one of the worst that appears here, and as she pointed out, does not deal with a patient care issue (although, anger management and drug diversion are big enough concerns for me if I were considering a vet, but each of us must make our own decisions).  However, the way Tamara Lynch chose to deal with the comment/opinion etc. on this blog is reasonable.  If you are unhappy about anything posted here, or on a review of your business, common sense and decency might tell you that the best way to deal with it is to answer it, and in doing so, acknowledge errors or mistakes made.  If your clients have given your business bad reviews, you need to ask yourself why and search yourself for the reasons.  And address them.   Most importantly, identify, acknowledge, and address clearly any quality of care issues at your practice, and implement monitoring to make sure that you keep your word to address them.  Attacking clients is not a good PR strategy.  Neither is threatening them with lawsuits.  It's called free speech, and you have it too.   I think by telling her own side of things on a site she maintains, she is responding to this in a constructive way. Perhaps by adding this link, her blog will get the search results bump she's been seeking for her response to be seen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Illinois Veterinarian Daniel McKay Killed Deformed Newborn Son by Slamming his Head Onto the Floor

The New York Times reported in 1985 that Illinois Veterinarian Daniel McKay had killed his newborn infant son, who was born deformed, by smashing his head onto the hospital floor.

The article reported:

"The facts of what occurred . . . were not in dispute . . . Dr. McKay's wife gave birth to a son at 11:58 P.M. June 27. But the baby was not breathing and a medical team worked for several minutes to force air into his lungs . . . By then, Dr. McKay had noticed the child's deformities. The attending obstetrician, Dr. Joaquin Ramos, and a nurse-anesthesist, Paul K. Yeboah, discussed the possibility of the child's having a fatal genetic defect, Trisomy 13 syndrome, after discovering that the infant's heart was dislocated, his lungs were malfunctioning and his testicles were missing. . . . Dr. McKay asked them not to use ''heroic measures'' to save the child, but they continued to do so, explaining that it was hospital policy. . .
Then, after the baby's condition was stabilized, after most of the nurses had left and Dr. Ramos was at the bedside of Mrs. McKay, Dr. McKay grabbed the infant and smashed his head to the floor."

The defense claimed that McKay had been under extreme stress and was temporarily insane.

The prosecution pointed out that McKay had previously explained to someone that this was a perfectly acceptable was to kill a pig -- that is: "by smashing its head against a truck bumper."

The jury was deadlocked, 10 to 2, in favor of a murder conviction. The article stated a retrial would be scheduled, but I was unable to find information on the ultimate outcome and the retrial.

Another article provided this account:

"[McKay bashed] the baby's head against the floor several times.

As blood and brain tissue splattered the wall and floor, a nurse screamed and Dr. Ramos shouted, ''Dan, what have you done?'

'I killed it,' Dr. McKay, covered with blood, replied as he walked calmly out of the room. "

So, my question is this:

If this is the method he chooses to kill his newborn son, what do you think he does to pets he "euthanizes" when the owners aren't around?

"Dr." McKay appears to be back in practice even as I write this. The veterinary clinic referenced in the articles as being his practice at the time of the 1985 trial is listed, and he associated with it. It is Beecher Veterinary Clinic, and January 2008 "Village of Beecher" meeting minutes show that he is still representing that clinic.

You may wonder why I am publishing such very old news. When I came across this, it really struck me as an example of what people refer to as "the link." That is the link between how humans treat animals ultimately translates into how they will treat humans. It is particularly disturbing because we are talking about this man's own infant son.

According to the press account of the prosecution's argument, McKay had argued that this was an acceptable method of killing pigs (and presumably other animals) -- smashing their heads into something (specifically, a truck bumper). He obviously developed that attitude during his veterinary career. How many animals did he kill this way before finally becoming desensitized enough that he could do this to his newborn child?

"Euthanasia" is a term that literally means "good death." It doesn't mean killing. It doesn't mean just death, good or bad, but "good" death. Many of the methods used by veterinarians to end the lives of animals do not, in my mind, classify as "euthanasia." This includes vets that inject euthanasia solution directly into the hearts of conscious animals. This includes vets that use gas chambers. This also includes vets -- or anyone else -- that thinks bashing some helpless being's brains out is an OK way to end their lives.

None of these things are "euthanasia" -- a "good death." They are something else. Perhaps it begins with a K, or an M.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dog Misdiagnosed for 16 Days, Ultimately Dies; Board Says Proper Diagnosis and Treatment May Have Prevented Dog's Death

When Minnie Pearl's owner brought her to see veterinarian Mary Brantley in Farmerville, Louisiana, Minnie Pearl (a dog) had been coughing, had been congested, and had been continuously panting. It was February 8th.

All of these symptoms are consistent with a respiratory infection. But Dr. Brantley didn't do a chest x-ray. She checked for worms, and finding none, told Minnie Pearl's owner that the reason the dog was panting was that she was overweight.

A week later (February 15th), Minnie Pearl's owner brought her back. She was still sick. This time, Brantley said Minnie Pearl had "tracheal bronchitis" and dispensed pills for a cough and an antibiotic. However, again, Dr. Brantley did not perform ANY x-rays -- and did not offer any x-rays -- to see if the infection had gone down into the poor panting, coughing, congested Minnie Pearl's chest.

A week later (February 22nd), Minnie Pearl's owner talked again with Brantley, saying that poor Minnie Pearl was still panting.

INEXPLICABLY, Brantley again told her that the reason her dog was panting is that she was overweight.

On February 24th, Minnie Pearl's owner took Minnie Pearl back to the vet, where she was seen by a different attending veterinarian. This different vet finally did x-rays on Minnie Pearl, and those x-rays "revealed severe pneumonia and possible ascites." Although meds were given to Minnie Pear at that time, 2 days later (February 26th) Minnie Pearl was worse, and her owner took her to an Emergency Clinic. However, one day later (February 27th), Minnie Pearl died.

The Board said: "A radiograph timely performed by [Brantley], or at least offered to the client, would have provided an opportunity for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment which may have prevented the animal's death, or at least reducd unnecessary suffering."

The Board stated that "It is unlawful, and constitutes unprofessional conduct, for [a veterinarian] to fail to properly diagnose and treat a patient."

They fined Brantley a mere $250 and placed her license on probation for a year. Brantley was required to pay for the costs of the invetigation -- in the amount of $1,500."

Poor Minnie Pearl went without a proper diagnosis or proper treatment for worsening chest infection/pneumonia for 16 days.

16 days is a good long time to be able to attack a pneumonia -- I ought to know, I had pneumonia many times as a child. Prompt treatment including the right antibiotics and fluids are critical. But Minnie Pearl didn't get any of that.

Instead, 2 out of 3 times that Minnie Pearl's owner consulted with Brantley, veterinarian Mary Brantley attributed Minnie Pearl's breathing difficulties to her being fat.

So what do you think?

Is Brantley merely lazy?

Or is she incompetent?

Or, perhaps, is she amazingly hostile and prejudiced against overweight beings?

I don't know, but whichever it is, I sure would not take my pets to her.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

BadVet Daily Announcement Re: Intermittent Entries

Due to technical issues, I will be unable to post daily. For each missed day, an additional day will be added to the "Bad Vet Daily" term of publication, so that you will indeed end up with coverage of 365 days of Bad Vets.

Louisiana Veterinarian Michael Williams Kills Client's Dog During Katrina

Some tragedies are caused by natural disasters; they are heartbreaking, but they were not caused deliberately by a person.

Other tragedies are man-made: immoral, intentional acts. Some of these immoral, intentional acts causing great heartache occurred during Katrina. And one of them was perpetrated by veterinarian Michael Williams, DVM.

In a Consent Order signed by Williams, the Louisiana Veterinary Board's Findings of Fact make clear the sequence of events that led to this horrible outcome.

Dr. Williams was a practising vet in New Orleans in August, 2005. You may remember -- it was at the end of that month that Hurricane Katrina hit down.

On August 24, 2005, a regular client of Dr. Williams brought her dog, Nietzsche, in to his clinic for boarding. Nietzsche's owner needed to go to Florida to deal with family issues. Nietzsche's owner planned to be back to pick Nietzsche up on August 27th.

Just the day before she boarded Nietzsche, what later became Hurricane Katrina was only a tropical depression over the Bahamas.

But Hurricane Katrina hit Florida on August 25th. The storm continued back out over the Gulf of Mexico and ultimately made a second landfall on August 29th in Louisiana.

According to the Board's document:

"[Nietzshe's owner] was unable to timely return to New Orleans due to contra flow of traffic exiting the city based on the mandatory evacuation and cancellation of air flight."

They go on to say:

"At no time did the owner consent to euthanasia which is not disputed by [Williams] . . . Euthanasia was performed on Nietzsche by [Williams] sometime subsequent to Hurricane Katrina's landfall without the owners consent."

Just pause for a minute. Consider this: This is that dog's trusted vet. His owner entrusted his care to his vet. There was nothing wrong with him and no reason for him to be killed.

But while other veterinarians were joining forces with humanitarians to plan to save lives, Williams chose a different path.

According to the Board:

"[Williams] asserts that it was a humane and ethical act to perform facing the devastation from a major hurricane . . . However, [Williams] conduct in performing euthanasia on a health animal without the owners prior written consent is a violation of the LA Veterinary Practice Act and the rules promulgated by the Board."

The Board fined Williams $1,000 and placed him on probation for "his unprofessional conduct . . . " They also made him pay the Board back the $1,500 in costs for investigating the case.

Do you think that is enough?

When a vet will not merely abandon your animal -- but kill it -- rather than rescue him during an emergency -- is that the kind of person who you should ever trust with your pets.

It has been alleged that doctors "euthanized" critically ill hospital patients during the Katrina crisis. That too, is horrific.

But in Nietzsche's case, he wasn't sick, he was healthy. Nietszche wasn't homeless or in a shelter - he had a loving owner trying to get back to him. A loving owner who would likely be snuggling with him today if it were not for the actions of a vet who did not merit the trust placed in him.

This story just breaks my heart.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Cooper" Died As a Result of Colorado Vet Amy Weeden's Failure to Monitor Him

In October, 2007, the Colorado Veterinary Board issued a letter of admonition to Amy Weeden, a vet practising at Denver, Colorado's Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital.

The Board stated that:

"On June 20, 2007, your patient Cooper Bails was not properly monitored while under anesthetic, which resulted in his unexpected demise."

" . . . the Board hereby admonishes you for violation of C.R.S. 12-64-111 (bb) since the veterinarian is responsible for the animal under his or her care."

So we have a dead pet -- likely a dead beloved pet. And the Board itself has said that the vet's failure to adequately monitor Cooper, or failure to ensure that Cooper was adequately monitored, RESULTED IN his death. I think in legal terms, that is called "CAUSALITY", i.e., the actions (or inactions) of the vet LED to the death of the animal.

However, all the vet board did was "admonish" her in a letter. No fine. No suspension. No requirement to take classes in anesthetic monitoring. NOTHING. JUST A LETTER.

Dead pet. Actions of vet RESULTED IN the pets demise. Yet, nothing but a letter.

So, why in the world would Colorado's vets be careful with their patients under anesthesia when screwups or oversights that actually RESULT IN the death of pets are met with nothing more serious than a letter?

Monday, April 7, 2008

What's YOUR Vet Selling You? (Subtitle: How Vet Boards Cirumvent State Requirements to Revoke Vets License for a Felony of Fraud, Moral Turpitude...

Blink and you'd have missed it. That is what could be said for the Missouri Veterinary Board's revocation of veterinarian Lynn "Nicole" Sutherland Scott's license.

In January, 2006, Scott led guilty to two counts of "Misbranding or Adulterating a Food While Held for Sale" in the US District Court fr the Western District of Missouri. This is a felony offense, and Scott was sentenced to three years probation, a "special assessment" of $200, restitution of $534.75, and a $4,000 fine.

The Board was notified of this in a complaint filed the following November.

In the Board document, it states that:

"Misbrandig or Adulterating a Food While Held for Sale is a crime and essential element of which is dishonesty . . . Misbranding or Adulterating a Food While Held for Sale is a crime involving moral turpitude . . . by pleading guilty to two couts of Misbranding or Adulterating a Food While Held for Sale, [Scott] pled guilty to an offense an essential element of which involves fraud, dishonesty, and involves moral turpitude."

The Board's decision stated that they were STATUTORILY REQUIRED by the State to REVOKE Scott's license as a result of this felony conviction. But apparently, those statutes don't say how long they have to revoke it FOR. So, they added that they placed no restrictions on when she could reapply to have her license back.

This document was signed on February 6th, 2007.

Nine -- that's 9 -- days later, on February 15th, the Board issued an order granting her back a probationary license. In spite of her guilty plea to a felony involving dishonesty, moral turpitude, and fraud, in this document giving her back her license, the Board declared her a person of "good moral character."

So much for protecting our pet's food in the wake of the horrible events last year. Someone pleads guilty to adulterating food, is REQUIRED to have their license revoked by the veterinary board -- the agency responsible for enforcement of the very statute that requires the revocation -- and then the Vet Board turns around and reinstates the license just 9 days later.

So, would you go to a vet that has "misbranded" or "adulterated" food, been "dishonest" and committed "fraud" and crimes of "moral turpitude" involving food she is selling?

Well, if you are willing to do so one thing is for sure: The Missouri Veterinary Board won't stand in your way.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Multiple Violations in One Year for Michigan Vet, Abolarin Agbona of "Comprehensive Animal Clinic" in Lansing

In 2006, the Michigan Veterinary board filed two administrative complaints against Comprehensive Animal Clinic's (Lansing, Michigan) owner and veterinarian, Abolarin Agbona. In both cases Agbona was found by the Board to have committed acts of negligence and substandard care; in one of these cases the "unsanitary conditions" of Comprehensive Animal Clinic were found to violate public health code.

Case 1: The Case of Zippy the Cat

The Board's administrative complaint states the following:

"On March 23, 2005, at approximately 8:00 p.m., a feline named Zippy presented to [Agbona], who diagnosed Zippy with urinary blockage. [Agbona's] documentation concerning his treatment of Zippy was inadequate. Specifically, Zippy's medical records showed no indication of physical examination findings, history and route of medications administered. The medical records also lacked a summary of x-ray findings, urinalysis results, or procedures performed."

"On March 25, 2005, when Zippy was picked up from the clinic by its [sic] owner, Zippy was covered in urine and feces. Thereafter, Zippy continued to experience problems urinating and the owner sought treatment for Zippy from another veterinarian."

"On September 14, 2005, Complainant's investigator conducted an inspection of [Agbona's] clinic and found that [Agbona] failed to store controlled substances in a securely locked cabinet or maintain an accurate inventory of controlled substances. Complainant's investigator also noted a strong odor of urine and feces upon entering the clinic, and found uncapped needles and syringes on hallway countertops and overflowing Sharp's containers. Complainant's investigator further found that the refrigerator/freezer in the clinic stored medications, but also contained foods intended for human consumption."

The Board found that Agbona's conduct "evidences a violation of general duty, consisting of negligence or failure to exercise due care, including negligent delegation to or supervision of employees or other individuals . . . [and] evidences a departure from, or failure to conform to, minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice for the health profession . . . " They also found that "the unsanitary conditions of [Agbona's clinic]" violated the public health code.

Case 2: The Case of Koda the Ferman Shepherd

(Do you think they mean GERMAN shepherd? The Board document definitely says "Ferman . . ." Wow, brilliant . . . )
The Board document states that:

"On February 8, 2006, at approximately 10:30 p.m., a Ferman Shepard [sic] named Koda presented to [Agbona] on an emergency basis with symptoms of "bloat."

"On February 8 and 9, 2006, [Agbona] provided substandard treatment to Koda, and [his] documentation concerning his treatment of Koda was inadequate to determine the seriousness of the dog's condition. Specifically, [Agbona's] documentation lacked any mention of fluid therapy, electrolytes, or acid-base evaluations in the medical records. [Agbona's] x-ray of Koda was of poor technial quality so as to render it totally useless, and he failed to refer Koda to another veterinarian. Furthermore, [Agbona] failed to document the results of a gastric lavage." (Gastric lavage meaning pumping out the stomach --

"On February 9, 2006, Koda's condition continued to deteriorate and the dog's owners sought treatment for Koda with another veterinarian, who diagnosed Koda with gastric-dilation/volvulus (GVD)" (GVD is bloat.)

The Board found that Agbona's conduct "evidences a violation of general duty, consisting of negligence or failure to exercise due care, including negligent delegation to or supervision of employees or other individuals . . ." and that Agbona's conduct "evidences a departure from, or failure to conform to, minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice for the health profession . . ."

So, could the failure to diagnose and properly treat Koda for bloat have cost him his life?

It could have, although we do not know whether or not it did, because the board document doesn't say what happened to Koda.

But according to this website (

"Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) or "bloat" is a condition in which the stomach
enlarges with gas and flips/rotates on itself. This results in an increasing amount
of gas that cannot be released from the stomach, respiratory compromise, shock, and
death. Any dog with rapidly increasing abdominal size, respiratory difficulty, and
vomiting or attempted vomiting, should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. . .

"Rapid diagnosis and treatment is essential to a successful outcome.
IV fluids, medication for shock, and surgery to relieve the torsion and empty the gas are necessary for dogs with GDV."

Another website ( says:

"[Bloat]is a life-threatening condition. . . Failure to rapidly treat this condition will result in your pet’s death."

I know if I lived in Michigan, I would NEVER darken the doorstep of "Comprehensive Animal Clinic" or any other place this vet ever worked!


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Crazy B.S. Vet Boards Believe [or, rather, PRETEND they believe]: The Case of Daniel Peck of Maryland and Shelby the Pug

This case, from Maryland, provides a really good example of how veterinary boards always believe the veterinarian when the owner's account and the vet's account are diametrically opposed, even when the suspicious behavior of the veterinarian seems to indicate that the owner is telling the truth.

For example -- don't you think you would know whether or not you told a vet, or gave permission to a vet, to spay your dog? If you thought a vet was just going to remove a lump on your dogs leg, but your dog came out of surgery having had an entire spay performed, wouldn't you be mighty pissed? This is what a Maryland owner claims happened with her pug, Shelby.

This case also provides a good example of how the vet board believes that the vet did things he CLAIMS he did, but NEVER wrote down. SHAME on the vet boards -- for this type of behavior on their part merely encourages vets to make up any old story. Moreover, bad things happen to animals, but vet boards seem to chalk everything up to "recordkeeping" violations, which sound not-so-serious. Use your noggin, people. Read between the lines. I don't even believe the vet boards believe this shit -- but they aren't in the business of uncovering the truth, they are in the business of coddling their colleagues no matter what.

Ah, but back to the case of Shelby:

Daniel Peck owned and operated the Eastern Shore Animal Hospital in Chesterstown Maryland.

In the summer of 2003, her owner brought 1 1/2 year-old pug Shelby in to Dr. Peck because she had a lump on her left leg. Dr. Peck decided that the lump was a "histocytoma" [sic]. (Hystiocytomas are benign skin tumors usually seen in small dogs. Here are some links to more information; and by the way, these articles say that they often resolve on their own:

But Dr. Peck recommended surgery to remove the lump, and the owner consented.

The vet board document says that Peck also performed an "ovariohysterectomy" (spay) on Shelby. Shelby's owner says that she NEVER gave permission for the spay!!!

The Board document says (emphasis added):

"Dr. Peck states otherwise, and amended the patient's record to include the following information: 'Called owner, permission given by father and Stacy.' Dr. Peck failed to initial and date this entry, signifying that it was an amendment."

OK, lemme get this straight. Shelby's owner said she never gave permission for the spay. The doctor LATER, AFTER THE FACT, modified (or "doctored?") the record to specifically say that permission was given for this spay, BUT he didn't follow state guidelines for the way to properly date and initial RETROACTIVE CHANGES MADE TO PATIENT RECORDS, indicating perhaps, that it was his intent to deceive people into believing that these were the original notations?????

The document further says:

"Dr. Peck administered an anesthetic agent to Shelby [for this surgery] (to wit: a combination of Ketamine, Rompun, Acepromizine) but failed to note in the patient's record the dosages given."

"Before anesthetizing Shelby and performing these procedures, Dr. Peck assessed the dog's physical condition, but failed to note his findings in the patient's record."

OK, so if it's not written down, HOW DO YOU KNOW HE DID IT? JUST BECAUSE HE SAYS SO??????

See how they always believe the vets? Even when the vet has NO proof, and the client has no proof, THEY TOTALLY 100 PERCENT BUY THE VET'S ACCOUNT OF THINGS!!!!!!!!

"Following surgery, Dr. Peck administered Flocillin to Shelby, but failed to note in the patient's record the amount given."

So, what did the board decide?

The board decided that Peck DID perform a physical exam of Shelby even though he wrote nothing down. BUT they found him in violation of the recordkeeping requirement.

For failing to write down the medications and amounts he used for anesthesia, they found him again in violation of record-keeping requirements. And AGAIN in violation of record keeping requirements for failing to write down that he gave Shelby Flocillin or the amount.

But the thing that really steams me is this:

For failing to initial and date his retroactive modifications to Shelby's medical records -- the one where he CLAIMS he called and got permission for the spay -- the one the owner says is total B.S. -- they just found him in violation of recordkeeping for that one too. For failing to date and initial the amendment.

They placed Peck on probation for 6 months and fined him $1,300, but they "stayed" $300 of the fine, which meant that he onnly had to pay $1,000.

As vet boards go, these are pretty high fines, but all the same, it is entirely maddening that a vet can retroactively modify his records to create documentation of things the client said NEVER occurred, and all he is found in violation of is recordkeeping. The fact that Peck did this, to me, tends to confirm the clients version of events, otherwise why would he suspiciously modify these records and not date them?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Spay that Wasn't a Spay: Was He High???

The North Dakota owner of a young female Cairn Terrier named Ruby brought Ruby to Doc's Veterinary Clinic in Bismarck, North Dakota to see owner Tim Dockter for a spay. Ruby actually went through the surgery -- presumably involving the usual incisions and cuts, anesthesia, etc. Recalling that day, the owner said: "[Ruby] had an incision site with stitches on her lower abdomen . . . "

Three months later, Ruby's owner must have had quite a fright, when she saw that Ruby was bleeding ("spotted blood on my bedspread"), "had swollen genitalia and was licking herself."

In her complaint, the owner wrote:

"She had all the signs of being in heat but I had had her spayed at Doc's . . . "

So, she thought the problem must be something else, like a bladder infection. She took Ruby to another clinic (NOT Dockter's), who found that she was running a fever, so they put Ruby on antibiotics. But Ruby still bled, so her owner took her back to the clinic for another visit. Neither an ultrasound nor bloodwork showed anything abnormal. About a month later, when Ruby was no longer bleeding, her owner took her back in to the clinic and had blood taken. "The second blood test," the owner said, "did reveal high levels of progesterone indicating she was ovulating so a surgery was scheduled."

In February 2007, four months after "Dockter" had performed surgery on Ruby, Ruby underwent yet another spay. When the new vet performed this surgery he "found two ovaries and her uterus." The owner saved the ovaries and uterus, presumably as proof.

The owner notified Dockter when it was suspected that Ruby had gone into heat, and according to her account, a series of phone calls between her and Dockter ensued, in which, she said, he expressed concerned about being sued and asked her to "keep this between him and I . . . " She said: "I did not appreciate the harrassment and am completely disgusted that my dog had to go through this."

In his response to her complaint, Dockter denied the tone of the conversation as reported by Ruby's owner, saying that "She . . . informed me she was having Ruby looked at a different, undisclosed clinic. The conversation was very civil with no accusations or argumentative language."

Well, that's a case of he-said, she-said, but given his focus on the "undisclosed" nature of the other clinic, I have to wonder what he would have done if Ruby's owner would have "disclosed" the name of this other clinic.

Dockter reported that when Ruby's owner called him to report that ovaries and a uterus had been found inside Ruby, he said that he "did not know how this could have happened."

Later in the document, he offers what might be construed as two possible explanations:

He says he once heard of a dog that had TWO reproductive tracts.

He then said, "When I am in surgery I have on a phone headset ad I will take calls. Did I take a phone call from my children that was serious? Or did I have to break up a dog fight in my waiting room?"

HELLO???? In the middle of surgery this guy stops to talk to his children and break up dog fights in his waiting room? WTF???????

The Board decided to initiate a disciplinary action based on the complaint filed in the case of Ruby. Also, they noted, that they "decided to initiate disciplinary action on the information received by he Board alleging that Dockter was convicted of possession of marijuana and denied the conviction on an application for renewal."

They noted that Dockter did not admit to these violations.

They suspended his license for just one month, and then put his license on probaton for 4 years. They also said that he should not perform surgery for 5 months after returning to work. They fined him $3,000.

Hey, I know what might have happened that Dockter spaced out and didn't remove Ruby's ovaries and uterus. Maybe he stopped in the middle of surgery to go toke on a bong. After all, he stops in the middle of surgery for all kinds of other things.