Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blaine Firmin "Loses" Client's Cat, Who has Never Been Found

This is one of many stories about vets losing their patients. This one in Louisiana.

Blaine Firmin is a vet in Slidell, Louisiana. On December 8, 2006, a client brought his cat, Little Man, in to see Firmin because of an injury to the Little Man's leg.

It was determined that the cause of the injury was a cat bite. Apparently because he had two other cats at home, the client agreed to leave Little Man at the clinic for healing.

The client had an agreement with Firmin that he would pick Little Man up on August 12, four days later.

The Louisiana Veterinary Board's Findings of Fact state:

"Little Man escaped and/or was lost in or at the facility and in spite of attempts to locate him, Little Man has never been found.

[Firmin] is negligent in allowing the animal to escape and/lor losing the owner/client's cat which was entrusted to him for treatment.

[Firmin's] conduct is not in keeping with the standard of care required by the LA Veterinary Practice Act and the Rules promulgated by the Board."

The Board fined Firmin $250 and ordered her to pay the Board's investigative costs of $1,500.

Here is my question:

Little Man is gone. Firmin says that Little Man escaped or was lost, but all we know is that Little Man is gone.

Now, I want you, the reader to understand that I have absolutely no evidence that anything different happened to this cat. The following is merely conjecture -- but no doubt, I am merely giving voice to the same fear the owner probably has about what happened to Little Man.

What goes on an awful lot at vets offices?


And I know that the dead bodies of euthanized pets, when unclaimed by owners, are often sold to rendering companies or otherwise disposed of.

What IF Little Man was euthanized by mistake, and his body was picked up at the next regular pickup of dead bodies?

That also would be a possible cause of Little Man being gone without a trace.

And certainly, if I was a vet whose office had done that, I would probably say that the cat was lost, rather than say that the cat was killed by mistake and the body disposed of.

Please understand that I have no way of knowing whether or not that is what happened here -- and after all, the "legal" findings of fact say that the cat was LOST, or escaped. But no explanation for this escape or loss is given, nor was there apparently a witness to it. He's just . . . .gone.

So I am merely giving voice to what I know must be this owners worst fears about what might have happened to Little Man.

Wouldn't that thought cross your mind, too, if you were them?

For another heartbreaking story about dog who went to the vets and was "lost" but who has never been seen again, nor has his body been found anywhere, see Toasty's Story. Toasty's website also has lots of resources on veterinary malpractice.

Also, read our prior blog post about how the Airport West Animal Clinic in Washington allowed their client's beloved Italian Greyound, Bambee, to escape. In that case however, we DO know that the dog escaped -- because her dead, half-eaten body was found by her owner in a field.