Sunday, June 8, 2008

Michigan Vet Michael Curley: Vet Board Says He Altered Records, but Dismisses 2 Out of 3 Charges

This is the kind of unreal, outrageous things vet boards do:

On the one hand, they affirm that their allegations against a bad vet -- in this case, Michigan Vet Michael Curley -- are true. On the other hand, they SIMULTANEOUSLY DISMISS CHARGES AGAINST HIM.

It's convoluted: Let me see if I can help you follow it. Hopefully, at the end of the story, you will see what I see: A slimy vet, and a spineless vet board that rolls over and wallows in the slime rather than protect their state's beloved pets.

On March 28, 2007, the Michigan Department of Community Health, acting for the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine (the "vet board") filed a complaint against Michigan vet Michael Curley, of the Red Barn Veterinary Clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In this complaint, the vet board said (emphasis added):

"On June 13, 2006, [Curley] performed an initial examination of an 11-year old German Shepherd with a history of degenerative myelopathy, and dispensed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. [Curley] failed to document the chief complaint, examination results, or reason for dispensing medication."

"On July 31, 2006 [the Vet Board] received an allegation against [Curley] which included a copy of the canine's medical records from the clinic."

"On October 5, 2006, pursuant to a signed release, [Vet Board] received a copy of the canine's medical records from the clinic. A review of the records indicated that [Curley] had altered the canine's medical records to indicate that the examination was a second opinion and that x-rays and bloodwork were recommended."

As a result of these assertions, the alleged the following violations:

"Count I: [Curley's] conduct, as set forth above, 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, whether or not injry results, in violation of section 16221(a) of the Public Health Code . . . "

"Count II: [Curley's] conduct, as set forth above, evidences a departure from, or failure to conform to, minimal standards or acceptable and prevailing practice for the health profession, whether or not actual injury to an individual occurs, in violation of section 16221(b)(i) of the Public Health Code . . ."

"Count III: [Curley's] conduct, as set forth above, evidences a lack of good moral character, in violation of section 16221(b)(vii) of the Public Health Code . . . "

Are you with me? You get what the Board was saying in this complaint?

Think they were saying that Curley ALTERED records . . . oh wait, that was the exact word they used, "altered" -- we don't have to guess, that IS what they were saying.

Why would a vet do that? To COVER HIS ASS in a veterinary complaint? Ya think? Ya think that would make him UNETHICAL??????

So get this -- The Vet Board's disciplinary subcommitte then entered into what is called a "Consent Order" with Curley. It means that both parties (the Board and the Vet) agree what will be done as a result of the complaint.

In this Consent Order, the Board says that Curley AGREES that the Disciplinary Subcommittee will treat the allegations as TRUE, but that he doesn't admit to them. The document goes on to say that "IT IS HEREBY FOUND that the allegations of fact and law as se forth in the complaint are true . . . "

YET, in the same document, while affirming the truth of the allegations in their complaint, the Board DISMISSED their charges of violations in Counts I and III of the Complaint, (the ones pertaining to lack of good moral character and negligence). They only issued action on Count II, which was the one pertaining to standard of care.

Is your head turning on its axis? The allegations are true . . . but we are dismissing charges. Does that make any sense to you?

I guess it shows how seriously the Vet Board takes altered records.

Yes, they fined him $750.

They put him on probation for six months.

They ordered him to take continuing education in veterinary recordkeeping.

(I wonder if the name of that class is: "How NOT TO GET CAUGHT the Next Time You Alter your Patient Records to Cover your Ass."

What do YOU think of the practice of vets altering patient records?

Would you go to a vet who did such a thing?

Resources (I can't vouche for these -- Just some things to read . . . )

Support group for families of dogs with degenerative myelopathy:

Degenerative Myelopathy Support Group

Ideas on Treating Degenerative Myelopathy

Yahoo Group