In human medicine, it is estimated that only a very small percentage of those individuals harmed by medical errors or malpractice ever file a complaint or sue.
I feel certain that the same is true in the veterinary realm.
As a rule, something pretty bad has to happen for a pet owner to go through the time and trouble to file a complaint with a vet board -- a process which holds no promise of recompense, but is done to call attention to what the complainant believes to be practices that are dangerous for pets.
So, as I read the Colorado Veterinary Board's "Stipulated Letter of Admonition" admonishing veterinarian Benjamin Konishi, the question that I ask is: "What happened to the horse to compel the owners to file a complaint????"
The answer may be in the board's comments, brief and cryptic as they are:
" . . . the Board found that you failed to properly keep records. The board also found that you treated a horse whom was laterally incumbent [sic], which increased the animal's vulnerability to aspiration and pneumonia as a consequence of the treatment."
Did the horse get aspiration pneumonia as a consequence of the vet treating this horse while he was "laterally incumbent" (I'm quite certain this should have been RECUMBENT. No, the vet board doesn't seem to have a great command of english . . . .)
This seems to me to be implied.
The Colorado Vet Board found that Konishi had violated two statutes of the Veterinary Practice Act. They cited the numbers of those statutes in the "Letter of Admonishment" -- "C.R.S. 12-64-111(1)(a)" and "C.R.S. 12-64-120(3)(b)". Of course, no consumer would know what those numbers meant -- and in this document, the board doesn't bother to tell them. You would have to cross-reference this document with the actual statues to know what violations they found Konishi committed. This is one of the reasons the Colorado Vet Board sucks -- this document is very unfriendly to the viewing public, not forthcoming with information.
Here is what those violations mean --
The first violation -- the violation of 12-64-111(1)(a), means that Konishi committed:
"An act or omission which fails to meet generally accepted standards of veterinary practice.”
The second violation -- the violation of 12-64-120(3)(b), means that Konishi violated the provision that states:
“All practicing veterinarians . . . shall maintain accurate records for every new or existing client-patient relationship . . . Animal patient records shall justify the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment administered or prescribed and shall be legible, written, printed, or prepared electronically as unalterable documents. Records shall be prepared in such a manner that any subsequent evaluation of the same animal patient would yield comprehensive medical, patient, and veterinarian identifying information. Records shall be maintained for a minimum of three years after the animal patient’s last medical examination.”
Here is another reason why the Colorado Vet Board sucks:
In spite of finding Konishi in violation of these statutes, and implying that his actions put the horse at risk for pneumonia, the board had only two requirements for Konishi:
The second was that he complete 6 hours of continuing education in acute abdomen diagnosis. (Hmmm, does that mean he also misdiagnosed this animal???)
The first was very outrageous. The vet board ordered Konishi to "Write records in connection with this case within 12 months."
EXCUSE ME???????? You are finding him in violation of record keeping rules and then you tell him to RETROACTIVELY CREATE RECORDS for the case that spurred the complaint and you give him a YEAR TO RETROACTIVELY CREATE RECORDS?
EXCUSE me, he was supposed to have records that are UNALTERABLE . . .already.
The statute says that the record must "justify the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment administered or prescribed . . . " yet they state that he administered the treatment while the horse was "incumbent" which increased his risk of pneumonia -- so either he lies in the records he creates and makes it look like he didn't do those things, OR he violates this statute all over again by failing to meet its "justification." Also, the board ordered him to take a class in diagnostics. Did he misdiagnose this patient? If he did, and you are asking him to RETROACTIVELY CREATE A RECORD UP TO A YEAR LATER, does he RECORD his misdiagnosis??? (If he does, then he violates the statute because he won't be able to justify the diagnosis . . .). But if he doesn't, THEN HE'S CREATING INNACURATE RECORDS!
This is all they did. No fine.
And an incomprehensible order to retroactively create non-existent patient records that either do, or do not, accurately describe what actually occurred.
With friends like the Colorado Vet Board, Colorado's pets sure don't need any enemies.
Disciplinary Action vs. Benjamin Konishi:
Colorado Regulatory Decisions:
Colorado Veterinary Practice Act