Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Food for thought

Today, this comment was left on one of my previous posts (the dog with severe, generalized demodectic mange for the 3rd time):

"I just stumbled across this blog - and while I agree on many points you make, I it wise to post commentary on the referring veterinarians? From a business standpoint, it seems like bad form to post your opinion in a public forum like this. What is your practice owner read it? What if one of your referring DVMs read it? Are you comfortable with that even if it means potentially losing your job?"

On top of that, I recently read this post on a fellow veterinarian blogger's website: Professional Disagreement.

It got me to thinking and going back to read my old posts. My blog is anonymous, of course. I don't give specifics about where I live. I realized I had - in the past, so I edited out those details.

All of that is irrelevant to the fact that really, I shouldn't criticize other veterinarians on my blog. There are several reasons. First and foremost, I wasn't there when the patient was initially seen, thus I do not know what physical symptoms were present and which weren't. I remember a recent case that came to me one night. It was a dog that had gotten into rat poison. She'd been seen at her vet that morning for generalized lethargy, but she had no other symptoms. The rDVM drew blood and submitted it for testing. By the time I saw the dog, her breathing was mildly labored, and she had a huge hematoma on her neck. It didn't taken long to figure out rat poison. The owner was furious that the other veterinarian had missed it, but I kept explaining to her that her dog's symptoms had worsened through the day, and many of the symptoms/clues I was seeing (the hematoma, the heavy breathing) likely hadn't been present that morning.

I need to remind myself of that in all cases. As with the recent Demodex case, the owner told me her vet didn't recommend any testing. Was that true? How am I to know? This woman medicates her own pets and thought she knew more than I did about everything because she was a breeder. Isn't it likely that she treats her own veterinarian the same way? Without direct, tangible proof that the veterinarian had done something wrong, who was I to judge?

Sometimes I forget, and my mouth *or rather my hands* get away from me. My blog is extremely cathartic, and I come here to vent about my frustrations. There are things I don't talk about on this blog because they are unprofessional, but sometimes, it gets out anyway. I'm going to work hard not to do this anymore. I'll probably slip up sometimes...but I'm going to work on it anyway. And in my defense, it is rare that I post critique of other veterinarian's case management. I went back and re-read my posts all the way through to the beginning of this job over a year and a half ago, and I only had to edit 5 or 6 of them. I try to maintain professionalism as much as possible, but I am going to try even harder from now on out.


Elizabeth said...

I agree that discretion is always best especially in a public forum. There will still be cases you know were not handled properly by the referring Vet.. nothing changes that. How you handle that will matter to you.

Outrider said...

>>This woman medicates her own pets and thought she knew more than I did about everything because she was a breeder. Isn't it likely that she treats her own veterinarian the same way?>>

Almost certainly!

I know she told you the dog was never given corticosteroids, but I'm still wondering about iatrogenic Cushing's... caused by the owner dosing the dog, not the veterinarian, just to be clear.