It is a bit ironic that Virginia Veterinarian William Will works at a clinic called the “love” clinic. Because love is certainly the last thing he displayed to his patient, a frightened (as well he should have been) dog whose life he took, sometime after he yanked him out of a truck by his leash so roughly that the dog’s face hit the ground. Also disturbing is Will’s prior disciplinary history, which goes back to 1989.
In an order dated March 2, 2010, the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine found that:
“On March 31, 2009 [veterinarian William Will] . . . provided substandard care for ‘Kismet,’ a canine. “When Kismet was frightened and did not respond to urging that he enter the office, Dr. Will pulled said canine from his owner’s truck by leash resulting in Kismet hitting his face on the pavement.”
[And they term this “substandard care?” OK, the word I would use is “abuse!”]
“Following Kismet’s soiling of his clinic’s floor, Dr. Will shouted obscenities which greatly upset Kismet’s owner.”
“Dr. Will diagnosed “parvo” without performing any laboratory tests and suggested that Kismet be euthanized. Dr. Will acknowledged that he ‘chose not to treat the dog due to its demeanor.’”
DEMEANOR? The dog was (wisely) scared and didn’t want to come into his vet clinic, and then was so scared that it pooped on the floor, so Dr. Will decided to issue the dog a death sentence? And they call that “substandard care?” I call it sadism, and murder.
“Dr. Will failed to include pertinent medical data in the patient record of Kismet regarding his March 31, 2009, visit to his clinic. Dr. Will’s brief entry in the medical record referred only to Kismet’s euthanization.”
OK, so let me get this straight: The dog might not have had parvo, and although the vet led the client to believe that he was recommending the dog be euthanized because of parvo, the real truth – as the vet admitted – is that the vet wanted to kill the dog, and did kill the dog, because of the dog’s “demeanor?” Was he exacting retribution against the dog for being afraid of him, and for pooping on his floor?
The document goes on to say:
“A consent order of the Board, entered March 4, 2009 (“Board’s Order”), ordered that Dr. Will’s clinic uundergo an unannounced inspection within the subsequent six month period. On July 19, 2009 and inspector from the Department of Health Professions inspected Dr. Will’s clinic and found that he was out of compliance in two areas. A) Dr. Will’s surgical suite was unsanitary. B) Syringe’s were left on the counter tops of Dr. Will’s pharmacy and grooming areas.”
In it’s “Conclusions of Law” section ,the board cite’s violations by section of Virginia code only – which seems to be a neat little trick to avoid naming, in layman’s terms, the violations the vet was found to have committed. A member of the public would have to actually go through the trouble of looking up each cited code section to determine what violations were found. So we will do that here.
Unprofessional Conduct (violation of Virginia code 54.1-3807(5)) and VAC 150-20-140(6) and (7)
Recordkeeping Violations (violation of the above cited Virginia code section as well as Veterinary regulation 150-20-195)
Violation of Standards for Veterinary Establishments (violation of the above cited Virginia code section as well as Veterinary regulation 150-20-200 (A) (1))
So get this:
The Veterinary Board suspended his license for 2 years but STAYED all but 30 days of that suspension (and frankly, from the information available online, I wonder if they may have even stayed that 30 days, because the site shows a “stay” of suspension order).
They ordered him to take 15 hours worth of continuing education in customer relations, practice management, and “controlling controlled drugs.”
[Gee whiz – yanking a dog out of a car by its leash so that its face hits the ground, then killing it because you don’t like its demeanor – that’s just a ‘customer relations’ problem . . .????? What, no classes in ‘How not to be a psycho asshole?’]
They fined Will $5,000 and ordered that his clinic be subjected to unannounced inspections.
But wait . . .
Dr. Will already had failed an inspection by the board. In yet another consent order issued by the Veterinary Board, dated March 4, 2009, the Board found that:
“On November 4, 2008, an inspector from the Department of Health Professions performed an inspection of the Love Shop Veterinary Clinic, Halifax, Virginia, where Dr. Will is employed as veterinarian-in-charge. The following deficiencies were discovered in the course of said inspection:
a. The facility, including the surgery room, was not clean nor was it sanitary.
b. The facility lacked an animal identification system that would identify all animals kept on the premises.
c. There was no resuscitation bag on the premises.
d. There were no signed disclosure forms in the patient files.
e. Medications in pill and syringe form were unsecured, with open pill bottles in the pharmacy area and syringes left on counter tops in the surgery area and elsewhere.
They fined him $500 and reprimanded him, ordering that his practice also be subjected to an unannounced inspection within 6 months of the date of the order (March 4, 2009).
Why are they yet again including unannounced inspections as an action against this vet when already, he has failed to clean up his act after inspections have found his premises, including his surgical area which should be sterile, filthy, in addition to other violations? More importantly, notwithstanding their $5,000 fine (hefty by Vet Board standards) WHY ARE THEY ALLOWING THIS VET, WITH A LONG DISCIPLINARY HISTORY, TO PRACTICE AT ALL?
As stated above, Will’s first violation, according to Board records from 1989, occurred in 1987. It was over two years between the incident itself and the Board’s order. In that case, the board found that:
“ . . . Dr. Will treated Flash, a canine owned by Ms. Sherrie Talley, in a substandard manner by not performing an adequate preoperative evaluation in that he did not take a preoperative radiograph. That Dr. Will did not refer the patient to a specialist, but instead attempted treatment that he was not properly qualified to perform.” Then the Board document states “That as a result of the aforesaid substandard treatment, the fractures did not heal properly, and euthanasia of the canine occurred on or about June 16, 1987.”
In that case, the board merely fined Will $100.
The question that must be asked in cases such as this is:
Do State Veterinary Boards bear some responsibility for ongoing acts of negligence, substandard care, unprofessional behavior (including physical violence) of veterinarians when those veterinarians show a pattern going back years, with multiple violations, and yet the Vet Boards give the vets a mere slap on the wrist time after time – IF THAT?
Do the overseers of a regulated industry (in this case, veterinary medicine) become RESPONSIBLE for ongoing violations and the impact of those violations (up to and including death) when they clearly practice lax enforcement and issue laughably miniscule or clearly ineffective penalties time and time again, all the while allowing repeat violators to keep practicing their “business as usual?”
Certainly, this question has been asked repeatedly about the Minerals Management Service in the wake of the Gulf Oil “spill” (more like a volcano) – and I can’t help but think of our nation’s veterinary boards whenever the incident in the Gulf prompts discussion about regulators who fail to regulate, because they are “in bed with” the people they are supposed to enforce standards for and regulate. I do believe that those organizations become criminally responsible for the havoc that is caused by the repeat-offender professionals they refuse to adequately regulate.