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Catladykaren

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Does anyone else feel like they have been failed by veterinary medicine? I put so much trust in one vet that misdiagnosed my kitty and didn't retest or doubt himself while a cancerous tumor slowly grew in her. A year later I finally demanded new Xrays. How could he have been so wrong? I could have saved her had we done something sooner. She was everything to me. How does one find a truly competent veterinarian? I recognize that vet med has a long way to go now. But it doesn't help much because she is already gone. I have other kitties and I don't know who to take them to for vet care. I am so utterly devastated and disappointed in the veterinarians responsible for her medical care. I feel like I can't trust vets. They work from educated guesses. For crying out loud, I took her in all the time. Its not like I brought her in when it was already too late. I am so upset.
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Mary_Jane

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Hi Karen

Yes, I totally understand your feelings about vets. We put all our faith into them and feel very betrayed when we are let down. When I first had my kittens, the local vet we went to was appalling. I moved to another surgery who are excellent and I have nothing but praise for them. Unfortunately they are also "family vets" and when Molly became very sick very quickly, they sent her to a specialist referral centre. Who was I to argue? I assumed it was the best possible place. She was there for the next fortnight. On the whole they were good, but there are a number of things which are sticking in my throat about the care given by the "specialists". On one occasion I visited to find her covered in urine. I had to try to clean her fur with bits of paper towels. Molly, like most cats, was a very clean animal and I knew she would have hated to be dirty. Another occasion they gave me some liver pate to try to feed her. It contained onion powder. Molly had severe anemia and onion causes anemia! I was not pleased. Every protocol I have read for the treatment of her condition includes the use of gastro-protectants as the medications upset the stomach. She was never given these. She was on opiate medication for pain and antibiotics, but these were stopped before she came home, and I don't know why. 

Recently I have noticed that they charged me twice for her bone marrow biopsy. When I questioned it, I was told very clearly she'd had it twice. I knew damn well she hadn't and it took several phone calls for them to finally admit it! I had spent over £5000 ($8000) and financially crippled myself, and this was peanuts to them. What really makes me angry is that I know a lot of people wouldn't understand the terminology in the invoice and not question it. 

However, the worst of all for me is that when she was diagnosed, they gave me a 75% chance she'd recover. Later on, another vet gave me an 85% chance. The odds were so good that I had so much hope to keep fighting. When things really started going downhill in the last week, I asked for an honest prognosis. The consultant said he couldn't give me one, as it was unknown. The same day he called my local vet and told her the prognosis was very poor. When we were discharged home, the discharge note said around half of cats with her disease will die. I rang him and asked for statistics and he refused to give me any, saying "it's too rare and we don't have statistics". I explained I'd been told 75-85% and he said this was a guess. I feel so betrayed by this. It's not that they gave me "false hope" as they never said it was certain she'd recover, but clearly they had no idea and I carried on fighting thinking I was doing the right thing. They don't seem to understand that our decisions about treatment are almost totally governed by what they tell us. I would rather they'd said they didn't know at the outset. 

I initially thought my anger towards them was just part of my grief and looking for someone to blame, but actually I do feel they let me and Molly down in a number of ways and at some point I plan to write to them. I don't want to complain but I do need to pass on my thoughts. 

I know that Leeloo had a very different illness to Molly but I remember reading that you were also given very good survival odds. It's absolutely heart-wrenching to lose them when you have such hope, and when you've agreed to aggressive veterinary treatment in good faith. I can only imagine how betrayed you must feel knowing that she was misdiagnosed. It is of no consolation, but I suppose veterinary medicine, like human medicine, is not an exact science and sadly it sometimes goes wrong. Terribly wrong. Do you feel that they were negligent in any way? Have you thought about writing to them? I agree that they often work from educated guesses, but they need to be more honest about that. As to how you find a trustworthy vet, I really dont know, but word of mouth is often a good indicator. 

Warm wishes to you, I know how much you miss her x

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Catladykaren

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Reply with quote  #3 
I too was referred to a specialty center, and financially crippled myself spending nearly $10,000. Actually, I used credit cards, but it will take the rest of my life trying to pay the debt off. I know I didn't ask enough questions, I didn't ask the right questions. I was exhausted and couldn't think straight for obvious reasons. I do need to follow up and ask what happened. I need to understand. There are a lot of things I didn't care for at this 24 hour hospital. The waiting area was large, with concrete floors, and sound echoed. Dogs came in without leashes, and conversations with clients were out in the open. It was a loud area, that would frighten any animal or person afraid of dogs. How could I be certain a dog wouldn't come after me and my kitty? There were no separate kennel areas for cats and dogs, and ICU was no different. Dogs were always barking or whimpering, and there was no peaceful recovery area. The receptionist who avoided me showed a complete lack of compassion or concern. I was left waiting hours on end with no updates. And the worst offense? I was the one who noticed my Leeloo wasn't breathing in a room with several vet techs. I know I want to blame someone for her death, but I also know we did not receive the best care. I know now that I should get a second opinion, and find a different specialty hospital before I need to take another kitty to one. Maybe understanding what went wrong will help, even if it could never bring her back.
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Mary_Jane

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Reply with quote  #4 
I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I also had a rather ice cold receptionist to contend with at times, which just doesn't make it any easier. I'm surprised to hear that they mixed the cats and dogs....both my local vets and the specialists at least had separate cat wards. I also remember hours and hours of sitting by the phone waiting. I remember one visit on a Sunday. They had called and said she was doing really well, but when I arrived they said she'd gone a bit quiet. The minute I saw her I could see she looked dreadful. She was limp and exhausted and I was terrified. I went to find someone but there was no-one around, no panic button, nowhere to go. I ended up grabbing her, too scared to leave her for a second, and hopelessly looking around the building with her in my arms, for someone to help. When they returned she had become critical and was given a 50% chance of surviving the night. That never should have happened. There should at least be a way to get hold of a vet in a specialist vet hospital!

I am shocked that it was you who noticed she wasn't breathing. That also, should never have happened. Like you I have been concerned that I am angry with our specialists because I want to blame someone, but again I know things were missed. Small things, even like having tissues in the room, would have helped, but I am going to write to them. Some things were good,  others not so. I would hesitate in taking another animal to them, which speaks volumes. Are you planning to get in touch with your vet hospital? I do think understanding can help, just in removing some of the many questions. 

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Catladykaren

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have the records now and yes I want to tell them how I feel, but mostly want to understand. I don't know how I should go about it yet.
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marzena

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Reply with quote  #6 
I also lost my beloved due to an incompetent vet. In the process I found out that the law is basically on their side because our companions are legal status is that of property.

I want to change this but I cant do it alone. I have written a bill and created a site to promote my bill. Please check it out and share with all your pet loving friends and family.
http://www.luckyslegacy.com

I have been collecting vet abuse stories and posting them on my site with a counter so that people will know that this happens all the time. It also aids in proving why we need such a bill. I would like to add your story to the many. I hope you agree.
I can be contacted through my site.


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Catladykaren

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Reply with quote  #7 
The pathology shows she had a thymic carcinoma. Not a Thymoma, all of which are rare in cats. The OR report was a summary, no time started, no time ended, and no complications noted. She never had a chance.
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marzena

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have a site dedicated to exposing vet greed incompetence and  changing pet law. Please check us out at http://www.luckyslegacy.com

Would you be willing to post your story to my site? 
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BoxerVon

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catladykaren
Does anyone else feel like they have been failed by veterinary medicine? I put so much trust in one vet that misdiagnosed my kitty and didn't retest or doubt himself while a cancerous tumor slowly grew in her. A year later I finally demanded new Xrays. How could he have been so wrong? I could have saved her had we done something sooner. She was everything to me. How does one find a truly competent veterinarian? I recognize that vet med has a long way to go now. But it doesn't help much because she is already gone. I have other kitties and I don't know who to take them to for vet care. I am so utterly devastated and disappointed in the veterinarians responsible for her medical care. I feel like I can't trust vets. They work from educated guesses. For crying out loud, I took her in all the time. Its not like I brought her in when it was already too late. I am so upset.
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BoxerVon

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Reply with quote  #10 
My lil man Von, my precious Boxer had the same vet always, his vet most definitely failed Von in a horrific way.. l lost him 1 week ago, sounds like same exact symptoms... i feel this guilt that i wronged my boy... He was my world. Never have experienced this deep deep pain and emptiness.. I want to be with my boy
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Mwende

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Reply with quote  #11 
Oh, yeah. I took Dexter to the hospital seven weeks before his death. The "vet" who saw him was actually an intern and he promised to do a test to find out what the status of his health was.

Two weeks before Dexter passed I took him back to the hospital, and the vet told me there was no point in doing tests because my dog would soon be dead anyway. Even after I told him I had brought him to the hospital specifically to get him tested. He gave me Rimadyl for arthritis.

Dexter collapsed one Saturday morning, two weeks after our last hospital visit. I rushed him to the hospital and finally met a doctor who was willing and able to get the right tests done. It turns out that the original tests had yielded the wrong results (the intern never even gave me the results, and when I asked he snapped at me in front of students (I was taking my dog to a teaching hospital). I didn't think it was right to snap back given that students were present, but I wish I did.)

Tests revealed that Dexter was suffering from kidney failure, meaning Rimadyl probably did him more harm than good. My dog was admitted for IV AND THE INTERN CONTINUED TO GIVE HIM PAIN MEDS which were no-no's. When I asked what he had given my dog he refused to answer.

My beloved was gone within a week, and I thought that was slightly too soon. Had he received proper care, who knows, might not have lost him when I did.
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