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.