Sunday, April 26, 2009

Violent Nutcase Vet Jeffrey Baranack Still Practising: Another Vet with Anger Management Issues!

If this doesn't make your stomach turn, I don't know what would.

In February of 2007 the Ohio Veterinary Board issued a "Notice of Opportunity for Hearing" to Jeffrey Baranack, DVM, of Oakpoint Veterinary Care in Dover Ohio. In this notice, the Ohio Veterinary Board listed 15 ALLEGED violations. Of these 15 allegations, 12 involved violent behavior toward patients.

For some reason (perhaps the nature of the violations? or is it the SNAILS PACE of state government?) it was not until March of 2008 -- over a year later -- that a Consent Agreement, detailing the disciplinary action against Baranack, was issued and signed. As a part of that consent agreement, Jeffrey Baranack "knowing and voluntarily" admitted violations related to 6 of the original allegations -- all of which involved violent behavior toward patients.

For my legal protection, I must say the following: the allegations that were not admitted to remain simply allegations. I am listing all of the violations alleged by the Veterinary Board in it's original notice below. The ones that Baranack admitted to are so noted.

ALLEGED VIOLATIONS (from the original hearing notice).

"1. On October 5, 2006, you treated 'Catalina' Hursey, a corgi mix. Although 'Catalina' was not behaving poorly, you allegedly repeatedly shoved her and yelled at her.

. . . .

2. On July 18, 2006, yu treated 'Chloe' Galmish. Although 'Chloe' was not behaving poorly, you allegedly repeatedly shoved her. . . .

3. On June 19, 2006, you treated 'Luke' Brown for an eye problem. While examining 'Luke' you allegedly yelled at him and roughly shoved his head. . . .

4. On April 25, 2006, you were taking a hip x-ray of 'Lakota' Smith. You allegedly began yelling and throwing things in the room and slammed 'Lakota' on the x-ray table. . . .

5. On May 19, 2006, you treated 'Bear' Murray for a mass on his nose. You allegedly punched and hit 'Bear' repeatedly, while yelling at him, causing blood from the mass to splatter on the wall." [VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THIS ALLEGATION WERE ADMITTED BY BARANACK]

"6. On August 11, 2006, you were to neuter a dog named 'Chopper.' You allegedly yelled at 'Chopper' and shoved him repeatedly. . . .

7. On August 20, 2006 you were treating 'Justice' Jeandervin when he barked at you. You muzzled the dog and allegedly told the owner that if he were your dog you would kill him and that he would have to be put down if he continued with this behavior. . . .

8. On November 2, 2005, you treated 'Pooh' Gardner for diarrhea. You allegedly hung 'Pooh' from the ground with a leash around his neck repeatedly until the cat went limp. 'Pooh' died a few days later and a necropsy revealed the cause of death as endocarditis and secondary pneumonia. You allegedly yelled at both the cat and the owners while doing this. Mrs. Gardner wrote a letter to the clinic complaining of your treatment of 'Pooh.'" [VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THIS ALLEGATION WERE ADMITTED BY BARANACK]

"9. On April 28, 2006, 'Theo' Shamel was brought in for euthanasia due to aggressiveness. You allegedly leashed the animal and had an assistant pull the leash tight around 'Theo's' neck while he was being pressed between the wall and door. When the staff complained you stated that you were going to kill the dog anyway." [VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THIS ALLEGATION WERE ADMITTED BY BARANACK]

"10. On November 28, 2005, you used a slip leash to get 'Oreo' Bennett out of his carrier. You allegedly then dragged 'Oreo' down the hall, bumping him into the exam room door, and used the leash to hoist the cat onto the surgery table." [VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THIS ALLEGATION WERE ADMITTED BY BARANACK]

"11. On February 23, 1999, 'Brownie," a terrier-mis, was in the clinic for diabetic blood work and a possible slipped disk. While examining 'Brownie' you allegedly muzzled and leashed the dog. You pulled the leash tight and 'Brownie' was panting and bleeding from his mouth with his front legs off the ground. You were yelling at 'Brownie.'" [VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THIS ALLEGATION WERE ADMITTED BY BARANACK]

"12. On March 22, 2005, 'Chloe,' a Jack Russell terrier, was in the clinic for blood work. 'Chloe' growled at you and you allegedly opened the cage. Using a broom you pinned 'Chloe's' head to the side of the cage and then repeatedly poked at 'Chloe' with the broom. Staff heard you yelling and saw the broom broken on the ground. You then muzzled 'Chloe' and removed her from the cage which was by then smeared with fecal matter. You kicked the dog repeatedly. Using a slip leash, you dragged 'Chloe' down the hall to an exam room. 'Chloe' stopped breathing and had to be intubated and resuscitated. The owners were called and told that 'Chloe' was unruly and needed to be picked up." [VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THIS ALLEGATION WERE ADMITTED BY BARANACK]

"13. On December 27, 2005, you performed a spay and front declaw on 'Sadie' Mullett. During this surgery you also filed down 'Sadie's' canine teeth. 'Sadie's' feet became swollen and she had a severe aversion to having her head touched or handled. 'Sadie's' paws required further treatment due to exuberant granulation tissue and dehiscence. A material thought to be surgical adhesive was found in each incision and had to be removed. 'Sadie's' teeth were filed down revealing the pulp and exposing the root. 'Sadie' underwent four root canals to correct the damage."

"14. You permitted Lori Murphy, an animal aide, to perform dental prophylaxis on patients in your clinic. Only a licensed veterinarian or registered veterinary technician is permitted to perform dental prophylaxis."

"15. You called in a prescription to Drug Mart for insulin for 'Sherman' Bennett. 'Sherman' is the patient at another veterinary clinic. 'Sherman's' owner did not want to take 'Sherman' for blood work. You do not have a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship with 'Sherman'. You do not have any records for 'Sherman' or any record of the prescription you called in."

The Consent Agreement does not cite violations related to allegations 1-4, 6, 7, 13-15 above, but the ones he admitted to (5, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) are bad enough.

So what did the vet board do?

They suspended his license for only 30 days.

They ordered him to take an anger management class, and to be assessed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

They ordered that he must be accompanied by a veterinarian or licensed technician for one year when he practices.

They put him on 3 years probation.

So, this is a guy whose history of violent treatment of patients goes back to 1999. Nine years.

Does the board really need a shrinks opinion?

If a pediatrician admitted to dangling children by their necks, would he still be practising?

If a person carrying out an execution order on a human pulled something tight around their necks and pressed them between a wall and a door before stopping all that violent nonsense to administer the lethal injection, what do you think would be done to them? Do you think they would still be working in that role?



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alleged "Inhumane" Euthanasia via Insulin Overdose - Florida Vet Jay Butan of Lake Worth -- "Marley" of "Marley and Me's" Former Vet

"Marley and Me" is all the rage, but in some circles, it's sparking debate (because bloat, the condition for which Marley's owner had him euthanized, is TREATABLE in most cases and because their dealings with Marley's supposedly bad behavior, in the view of many, leave something to be desired).

In Grogan's book, he apparently calls Butan, Marley's first vet, "the doctor of our dreams."

Well, it seems that for at least one cat, and for a former colleague, Butan was the vet of their NIGHTMARES. "Marley's" first vet, Jay Butan, may not be such a great guy after all, no matter what author John Grogan says.

As some readers may know, my own beloved Toonces was given an insulin overdose at his vets. I saw some of the aftermath of that insulin overdose, and it was horrible and heartbreaking -- nothing you would ever want to see a pet go through. Therefore, when I read about Florida Vet Jay Butan, I became convinced that he is a MONSTER right up there with the likes of Bill Baber. Let me describe to you what happens when an animal receives an insulin overdose -- before it dies, if it dies.

First, the animal would experience:

". . . headache, irregular heartbeat, increased heart rate or pulse, sweating, tremor, nausea, increased hunger and anxiety . . ."

With a massive overdose, this would progress to severe effects on the central nervous system, including hypokalemia, hypophospatemia, hypomagnesia, and hypothermia. As the brain is deprived of glucose it needs to function, the animal will experience seizures and coma. Death will not come quickly, easily, or even surely. However, "massive necrosis," to quote my Toonces' neurologist, may result. That means death of brain tissue.

Does this sound like a humane method of trying to kill -- or euphemistically, "euthanize" -- a pet to you?

In the words of his former business associate and vet, Archie Kleopfer, who reported Butan: " . . . an insulin overdose leads to a slow, cruel, cold death. I still don't know why he went to the clinic in the middle of the night to kill animals with insulin".

Well, according to the Florida Vet Board, this is exactly what Jay Butan did -- use an insulin overdose as a means of killing a patient. On purpose.

Actually, in this article, it appears Butan admits it. Where are the animal cruelty charges against this, "Marley's" former vet?

Oh, that, plus engage in fraud in his business dealings.

The following is taken from the Administrative Complaint filed by the vet board against Butan (the fraud allegations come first):

"[Butan] and another veterinarian, Dr. Archie Lee Kleopfer, shared clinic space, an office secretary, and account management services, including credit cared service and common accounts."

"The office secretary observed unusual shortages . . . in Dr. Kleopfer's account."

"[Butan] explained the inconsistencies as 'A trade secret' and 'a computer re-indexing error' respectively. The missing monies were credited to Dr. Kleopfer's account on each following day."

"An accounting audit revealed that [Butan] embezzled at or around $27,447.14 by adjusting the accounts of both clinic clients and Dr. Kleopfer's. The account adjustments went back ten (10) years."

"[Butan] used an overdose of insulin to kill Spencer, an ill cat who lived at the clinic."

"Overdosing a patient with insulin is not an approved method of euthanasia. It is considered inhumane for purposes of euthanasia."

Editorial comment: Er, uh, it should be considered inhumane for ANY purpose!

"[Butan] failed to record within Spencer's medical records the method he died."

"[Butan] failed to record within the medical records of 'Taffy,' a dog who also lived at the clinic, the method he was euthanized." [sic]

The Board then cites Chapters 61G18-18.002(3) and (4) of the Florida Administrative Code, which address requirements for medical record-keeping.

The Board charged Butan with three counts:

Count 1: A violation of Florida Statute section 474.214(l)(m), by "fraudulently increasing several accounts payable"

Count 2: A violation of Florida Statute section 474.214(l)(o), "fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or misconduct, in or related to the practice of veterinary medicine"

Count 3: A violation of Florida Statute section 474.214(l)(ee), "failing to keep contemporaneously written medical records as required by the rule of the board.

As you may be aware, veterinarians charged by their state boards usually choose to sign what is called a "consent agreement" or "settlement" in lieu of contesting the charges. As a term of these agreements, the vet never has to admit guilt, nor are the charges ever heard in court, so they forever remain allegations, and such is the case with the charges brought by the Florida Board against Butan. Butan, in signing a settlement, merely admitted that "the facts set forth [in the charges] . . . if proven, would constitute a violation . . ."

Butan was fined $2,000 and ordered to take "six (6) hours of continuing education in the subject area of euthanasia, anesthesiology or ethics."

Don't you think this man's license should have been taken away? Don't you think he should have been brought up on cruelty charges? I certainly do.

But not only is he still practising . . .

According to the Canal Animal Hospital website, of which he is now "President", his peers allow him membership in the Palm Beach County Veterinary Society, The Florida Veterinary Medical Association, and the freakin Chamber of Commerce.

What a role model.

And the Florida Vet Board apparently thinks he should still be able to get his hands on your pet.


Summary of Disciplinary Action -- Florida Board Minutes

Article on how Butan was Marley's vet, citing his violations and his admission of the insulin overdose

Alaska Denies Butan Request for Courtesy License to be Iditarod Vet (oh, that's a humane event . . . NOT!!). Note that Alaska cites Butan's failure to disclose Florida's disciplinary action on his license (proving that ETHICS are still an issue . . . ) ". . . for failing to disclose [the Florida disciplinary action] on his application as required by the statement 'I am not omitting any information which might be of value to this board in determining my qualifications and character . . . "

WATCH OUT!!!! Where is he now??

Butan's Profile at Canal Animal Hospital. Scary stuff.

Manta Business Listing

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Gross Negligence" in Arizona

This case involves "Flash," a 5-month old male Blue Point Siamese cat, who went into cardio-pulmonary arrest during what should have been a routine procedure -- a neuter and microchip implantation. The following is taken from the Findings of Fact issued by the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board. The veterinarian named in this case, and found by the board to have committed "gross negligence," is Denise Upchurch, D.V.M.

Flash's owners brought him to Upchurch on March 19, 2007. He was to be neutered and vaccinated the following day.

"'Flash' was examined the next day . . . noting a weight of 4 pounds 7 ounces, temperature of 99.9 degrees F, pulse > 200 BPM, and a respiration rate of 40 rpm. All else noted within normal limits. 0.3 metacam was administered orally, 0.5 mg acepromazine IM, 0.025mg atropine IM, and 1.0 torbugesic IM. Induction of anesthesia and maintenance wa3s by mask delivery of isoflurane. The timeframe between administration of the preanesthetics and delivery of isoflurane were not given in the medical notes. The concentration of the isoflurane for induction and maintenane was not documented in the medical record. A routine castration was performed, a microchip implanted, and a vaccination administered prior to cessation of anesthesia."

"After the microchip implantation, it ws noted that the mucous membranes were not pink and 'Flash' was not breathing. Manual breathing was started; however the patient proceeded into cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed to revive "Flash."

No intravenous catheter or supportive fluid therapies in the form of colloids or crystalloids were attempted because [Dr. Upchurch] indicated she was not authorized to do so."

However, they note:

"It is stated on the surgical release form that the client has been informed that there are risks and complications associated with any procedure and unforeseen conditions may arise that may necessitate the performance of additional procedures."

"Radiographs were performed to reveal an abnormal pattern which was attributed to manual ventiliation. 'Flash' remained on oxygen for twenty minutes while breathing regulated and the abnormal pulmonary sounds decreased."

"[Upchurch] contacted the cat's owner, advised him of the situation, and recommended transfer to a 24-hour facility. The owner was unable to leave work and elected to have the clinic continue hospitalization and callback in three hours to see if the cat would recover."

"At this point, 'Flash' was not placed back on mask delivery of oxygen. He was placed at the feet of the receptionist for visual observation. The only monitoring parameter recorded in the medical record between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (discharge) was at 2 p.m., and reported as 'breathing well, heart rate stable near 175 bpm."

"After two hours at 3:00 p.m. 'Flash' was semi-conscious, demonstrated opisthotonus, and showed no further signs of improvement. In the medical record it was noted a concern of hypoxia during arrest and brain injury. There was no indication of continued supportive care such as oxygen delivery or supportive fluid therapy. [Upchurch] recommended transfer to a facility for 24-hour care. 'Flash' was discharged at 4:00 p.m. into the owner's care for transport/transfer to Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (SAVSEC)."

"Upon initial examination at SAVSEC, 'Flash' was hypothermic, non-responsive, and recumbant. An intravenous catheter was placed, crystalloid and colloid fluid support started along with thermal support, oxygen support, pulse oximetry, blood pressure monitoring, and hourly TPR (temp, pulse, respiration). 'Flash' made continued recovery with possible long-term visual impairment."

I presume that visual impairment would be from brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

The board found that Upchurch's conduct "constitute[s] a violation of A.R.S. 32-2232 (11) for gross negligence for not placing an IV catheter to provide fluids and supportive care, including adequate monitoring to the cat after and during cardiopulmonary arrest."

Note: Although the Board document does not identify the business where Upchurch works, a web search finds a "Denise Upchurch D.V.M." at Feline Limited Cat Clinic in Tucson. If anyone knows if they are the same, let me know.

The Board placed Upchurch on 1 year probation and ordered her to take 6 hours of continuing education in critical care management.