Friday, March 11, 2011

Double dud

Having just read about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, my complaints seem relatively minor. Still, I plan on airing them despite their unimportance.

The last 2 nights have sucked. I don't know if it's the gas prices, the economy, or just people in general, but I have euthanized or discharged so many ill/injured animals in 2 days. No one has any money, and no one wants to do anything for their pets. Even the people that I *mistakenly* assumed had money did not. A woman threw an absolute fit at our check-out last night. Why? I didn't get approval for an additional $40 to reverse her cat's sedation and to place a bandage on its foot. And when I say fit, I mean fit. The woman was discombobulated with rage. My poor receptionist ran back to get me. Normally, I don't deal with that stuff. It's not my job. My receptionist was so cowed however, that I betook myself to the front desk.

The cat had come in for a gash on its foot. It was very painful, and in an awkward position, so I thought it best all around for some light sedation with Domitor and butorphanol for an exam to see what would be necessary. I couldn't tell if this was a glue, suture, or benign neglect situation. My technician went over the estimate. On the estimate was ONLY sedation, wound care, and wound repair. My tech clearly told her that it would be an additional amount of money for any sutures.

Once the wound was cleaned, I was relieved to see that it would probably respond well to a silver nitrate stick to cauterize it and a bandage to protect it. It took 5 minutes. We reversed the cat's sedation, and they were in/out of the ER in 45 minutes. Except, she got to the register and refused to pay.

I politely explained to her that I did not foresee it being a problem, that I reversed sedation so that they didn't have to wait an hour for the cat to wake up, and that I did what I thought they wanted me to do (namely - TREATED THE CAT!). She was LIVID and kept yelling me. At one point, she asked me why I sedated the cat, and why I couldn't have just held it down! I wanted to offer to shove a silver nitrate cauterizing stick in a wound on her body and see how well we could hold her down, but I kept my voice low and assured her that I did what was best for her cat. She then went off on a different tangent and accused ME of not faxing her cat's records last time we saw him. I explained that I had nothing to do with that, but we would certainly be faxing the records. She sullenly said, "You said that last time." Believe me, I was gnawing on the inside of my cheek in desperate effort not to say anything rude to this client.

She paid her bill finally and left. The rest of the night was no better. I saw a proptosed eye that needed to be removed. $180 to their name. Sent home with e-collar, eye meds, pain meds. I euthanized FOUR animals. I was berated on the phone for spending too much of a client's money on treating a diabetic ketoacidosis patient - one of the most expensive and difficult to treat diseases- BY THE VETERINARIAN WHO SENT THE DOG TO US AND WHO IS A REFERRING SHAREHOLDER. (Oh, and he's trying to treat the DKA on a "budget.")The night before, I dealt with a couple of women who adopted THREE puppies at one time, dewormed and vaccinated themselves, and had no money to help their vomiting, likely parvo positive puppy.

I'm over people lately. I empathize that gas prices are high and that pet care costs a lot of money. That doesn't change the fact that I still have to make a living to support my future baby, as well as help the clinic keep the lights on and the doors open. We're an ER. It's expensive. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

The only bright spot in the last 2 days is the fantastic news I got yesterday. The oldest of my younger brothers (1 year younger than me), his wife, and my niece are moving here to our town. She is pregnant with their second child, and she's due around a month after me. There is no describing how thrilled I am that they are going to live here! One of my few sources of unhappiness has been the lack of family near me, and now I can see my niece, and she can grow up with her cousins. It made my month.


Karen Whiddon said...


I read a lot of blogs (Vets, Nurses, Drs, Receptionists) and lately it seems like everyone has gone crazy - everyone being the general public. Rages, rants, stupidity. Blows my mind.

I've spent 30 years working with the general public. This year will be my last.

Hugs again. Glad you'll have family and your baby will have a cousin to grow up with.

VetVoyeur said...

Sorry to hear it's been so rough. I enjoy the postings of the vets I follow and sympathize with run-ins with unpleasant people. I hope I've learned my lesson and no longer even joke with my vet that the pet isn't worth the cost of the bill. Hang in there.

Shannon said...

I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted here, but I this really irks me. In a lot of these cases, I strongly believe, it's not a matter of not having the money but rather, not choosing to spend it where they should.

I'm a full time student who has no financial support from my family. I'm putting myself through university through loans and a couple of part-time jobs. In September one of my cats had a urinary blockage. On a Friday at midnite, he was rushed to the nearest emergency vet clinic to the tune of over $100 in cab fare because I don't own a car. When the quote was given, I didn't bat an eyelash or cry starving student because I think I have a moral obligation to provide appropriate care to my pets. I promised them that when I signed their adoption contracts. And by making responsible financial decisions in other areas of my life, I was able to do so.

Anonymous said...

When it rains, it pours. It can be hard to remind yourself that there ARE people who want the best for their pet and they can (or will try) to afford it. Your post reminded me of Dr. Patty Khuly's recent post: