Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Veterinarian Larry Romine Ordered to Surrender License; Veterinary Board Alleges Romine Committed Negligence; Botched Spay

Yet another botched spay story from California.

In June, 2007, veterinarian Larry Romine was ordered to surrender his license in the State of California to settle a complaint brought against him by the veterinary board. As a part of the settlement agreement, Romine admnitted that the Board "could establish a factual basis for the charges in the Accusation" if further proceedings were conducted. These charges dealt with Romine's treatment of a 5-month old rat terrier female named "Roxy."

Roxy's owner brought Roxy to the Kaweah Veterinary Clinic, operated by Romine, in Visalia, California, to have her spayed.

Two days after hte surgery, Roxy's owner brought her back in to the clinic, because Roxy was lethargic and unsteady on her feet. The staff at Romine's clinic told her that "Roxy's condition was likely due to the affects of the anesthesia, and she was instructed to prevent Roxy from drinking any fluids for the remainder of the day."

But the next day, Roxy was worse. In distress, she was vomiting any time she tried to drink fluids. Her owner then took her to a different clinic -- an emergency clinic.

The examination revealed "a build up of fluid in her abdomen, with indications of kidney damage."

The next day, Roxy was seen at yet another hospital, for more evaluation and testing. Exploratory surgery was done on Roxy, and they found that Roxy appeared to have been born with only one kidney, and that a three-inch section of the right ureter (which carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) had been surgically removed "during the same surgical procedure removing her right ovary, right ovarian horn, and uterus." In other words, when he did the "spay", Romine cut the ureter leading from Roxy's ONLY kidney.

In addition, the document said, Roxy's left ovary and left ovarian horn were still intact. Which means that not only was she butchered by having her right ureter cut, but the spay wasn't even finished.

Not that the latter issue mattered much, because "due to the inability to repair damage to Roxy's one kidney and ureter, she was euthanized."

The board asserted that Romine had commited negligence, both in removing the section of the ureter, and in not removing the left ovary and left ovarian horn.

In addition, they said that another element of negligence was that Romine had "failed to recognized symptoms consistent with post-surgical abdominal pain and clinical depression" when Roxy was brought back to him after the spay.

(Gee, "depression????" I'd be depressed too, if someone cut my only ureter . . .making it impossible for my body to clear urine and essentially causing me to be unable to continue living. Depressed? Ya think?)

In addition, when Roxy was brought back to him after surgery, he "failed to perform a physical exam" on her.

Other "causes of dicipline" cited by the board included their failure to make entries in Roxy's record describing the surgical procedure performed, the sedatives or anesthetics used, and the name of the surgeon who did the butchery, uh, I mean, operation.

Other record keeping violations were cited.

In addition, the board said that an inspection of the hospital showed that Romine:

Did not have a dedicated froom for surgery;
Did not have emergency drugs or equipment in the room where surgeries are performed;
Did not have a notice telling clients that 24-hour supervision is not provided;
Did not dispose of expired drugs; he did not record the names of patients or prescribing veterinarians in the drug log;
Did not have a properly functioning anesthesia machine in the surgery room;
Did not have an autoclave device (for sterilization);
Did not wear appropriate attire in the surgery room;
Did not enter his initials on exam records;
Did not have equipment for monitoring patients under anesthesia in the surgical room;
Had stored "products intended for human consumption" in the surgery room refrigerator.

The board noted that Romine had previously bee cited for failing to comply with minimum standards of veterinary care.