Happy Saturday to all!!
Before I put my creative hat on, I just had to finish the letter I will be sending to the Veterinarian Clinic that *treated* my little girl last Sunday. I am omitting the names until I recieve a response from them but feel that this story should be told!
In memory of Valentine and for all animal lovers...I need answers....my letter goes as follows:
On Sunday, January 23rd 2011 at approximately 11 :00am, we walked into your Emergency Animal Hospital with our little 7-year-old Pekingese who was suffering from discomfort due to swelling in the neck area.
She was immediately taken from my arms by one of your staff that took her to an enclosed section of your hospital; we completed forms and were then asked to wait until an assessment was performed.
Dr. X met with us a few minutes later and asked questions regarding her condition, how we noticed the swelling etc to then reassure us that after examination, Valentine was showing no signs of distress or danger, that all her vital signs were nice and strong and he saw no reason to be alarmed! He then continued by stating that the pressure of the swelling did not disturb her esophagus. I added that I felt she had difficulty breathing but again was reassured that she was stressed due to the discomfort, the different people manipulating her and that animals have a tendency to retract when afraid and not to worry. I informed X that Valentine had shown signs of diarrhea that morning which he replied being stress colitis. Again, he expressed it to be normal and not alarming. Relieved and with teary eyes I thanked Dr.X as I truly believed that everything would be all right!
Following that diagnostic, we trusted that all further testing suggested by Dr. X were necessary for proper treatment therefore agreed to a blood test and a fine needle test in the swollen area. We were then told that it could take an hour to an hour and a half before results came, longer if a CRITICAL patient was brought in so we left her in your care and went on to do a few errands until 1: 30pm.
Upon our return, we were told that it would take an extra 40 minutes, which turned out to be an extra 1:45 hour waiting period, the issue being difficulties with the blood test equipment. Dr. X did come to see us a second time happy to announce that the fine needle test showed no blood or puss pockets in the swollen area, only bacteria and some white cells therefore Valentine would not have to sustain drainage to the area. We are ahead of the game, he stated! Continued by saying that she would be treated before infection or abscess had time to even begin if infection or abscess were to begin which was a bonus. Stated that an initial injection of medicine would be performed at the hospital in order to give a head start, antibiotics or anti-inflammatory or both depending on the results of the blood test! We then discussed at home care, and were told that liquid medicine administered by the mouth with a syringe would be best seeing that Valentine had refused to open her mussel earlier that morning. We were asked to wait some more as the blood test results had not yet been received. All this time, we still had not seen Valentine since that morning at 11 :00am and it was now close to 3:00pm!
When the blood test results finally came in, Dr. X informed us that Valentine’s tests were ok aside from an abnormal reading (mild) to the liver values and for that reason, would not prescribe anti-inflammatory and would treat her with antibiotics only. He suggested that Valentine be seen by our local Veterinarian Clinic in about three weeks to retake these readings but again reassured us that there was no immediate danger and that the results were not alarming and potentially caused by stress and/or mild dehydration. We were then informed on the option and fees associated with leaving Valentine with you in order to test the liver further but again, pressed that there was no immediate danger, controlling the swelling was priority and that the scan would not be performed until the next day anyway. Valentine has had a stressful day, he said! Dr. X went on that the extra $800.00 was not an immediate necessity but available but did suggest once again consulting within three weeks and we agreed with no hesitation!
So we went ahead and paid the $510.41 associated to the treatments, medication, emergency and consultation fees but still, no sign of my puppy. I had to ask for my dog and she was then brought to me and placed in the blanket I held in my arms. So we left with our baby, thanking your staff and happy and relieved that she would get better!
In the 30-minute ride back home, I paid really close attention to her breathing and didn’t feel it was normal. Re thinking of what Dr. X had said, I trusted, again, that her behavior was normal under the circumstances as we were told with conviction. Upon arrival at home, Valentine was taken inside and we were shocked when placing her on her favorite cushion! We called her name actually believing she would come to us as she did that morning, only to realize that our little girl couldn’t even hold her head up, she was barely moving, laying on her side motionless! I immediately called your hospital as I thought that perhaps she had received a sedative or something but much to my surprise, I was told she had received no injections whatsoever, not even the antibiotic!!!!!
Went back to Valentine’s side while my spouse ran for the prescribed medicine (antibiotic and pain medicine) hoping that a first dose could help her. Surprise again, the medication was in pill format not liquids! We could not do anything; By then, Valentine was not reacting anymore, gasped for endless minutes and then simply ceased to breath!!!! Within 20 minutes of arriving home, my puppy died!!!!
What happened in the hours my Valentine was in your care? When we brought her to you, she was still walking, drinking, wagging her tail and responding to her name!! How could it not be noticed that her condition deteriorated at such a quick pace? In all the hours we waited, thinking you were taking care of her, at least six staff members were chatting at the front desk, some looking at kitchen decors on the internet and no one noticed my dog was dying? How is it possible to take blood, poke her in the neck and ignore her condition? How many times did Dr. X even look at her? Where was she for all those hours?
We are shocked and in disbelief! We trusted you as professionals and lovers of animals and are left sobbing for our little girl!
When we informed you that Valentine had passed, your staff put me on hold to advise Dr. X and then returned to literally beg for us to return to your hospital with Valentine’s body! Will you please do that for us Ma’am? Still in state of shock we obeyed and my spouse left with our sweetie! I simply couldn’t pull myself back together and go back! What were you hoping for? Resurrection?!? Looking back, I strongly suspect a hidden agenda! Were you hoping we would accept paying extra fees for an autopsy and cremation? We were told an hour prior that our baby would be fine and you dared to ask? Or, was it that you were afraid the autopsy would be done elsewhere?
Your conclusion of not knowing what happened is not acceptable! Before forwarding this horrible, no, hellish story to the media and/or the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, I am requesting answers on how licensed Veterinarians could oversee what Valentine was going through! How can you call yourselves Emergency Pet Care when NOTHING was noticed or done to Care for my dog!
I know we will possibly never know the true reason for Valentine’s death and I am not accusing anyone of deliberately killing her but I am on the other hand making you responsible for lack of care, neglectful conduct and wrongful diagnosis that potentially caused her death! I will also add that if, and a big IF it is, Valentine’s condition was fatal to begin with, a proper diagnosis would of given us the opportunity to relieve her from all that suffering and we would have been spared of the false hopes, tremendous helplessness, stress and immense pain of seeing Valentine die in such a way!
No compensation, apology or acknowledgement will ever bring my little dog back but I am giving you the opportunity to prove that the XXXXXXXX is more than a lucrative heartless establishment!
In the memory of a cute flat nosed sweetie named Valentine and in the interest of all that will confide their trust and fur babies in your hands, I am requesting acknowledgement of this letter within ten days and will react equally to the content.
We gave Valentine a loving and happy life for seven years, promising she would never die suffering! We were robbed from our vows when we entered your premises on January 23rd 2011.
Thanks for reading and will inform you of the outcome :)