MSNBC Report: “When Vets Make Mistakes, Pets Pay the Price.”
Veterinarians are caring, professional people who have dedicated their lives and careers to relieving animal suffering. As pet owners, we truly understand the power of the human-animal bond. As you can imagine, I was surprised to read a recent report at MSNBC.com that paints a very unflattering picture of veterinary medicine as a whole by depicting a few cases where medical mistakes caused distress to pets and their owners.
While I could spend time dictating statistics and numbers, I realize if the medical mistake occurs in your pet, the statistics are meaningless and your grief understandable. As veterinarians, we understand the deep grief and pain felt when we our pet is injured or even lost. We also can empathize with the anger, shock and frustration felt by pet owners.
The MSNBC article focuses on the fact that pet owners are often frustrated to find out that our legal system rarely offers options for compensation after an injury or loss of a pet. The author describes a supposedly corrupt oversight system that favors veterinarian and ignores owner complaints. It is interesting to note that most human malpractice cases are found to have no underlying negligence and it is unfair to presume the circumstances would be different in veterinary medicine.
The important message for the pet owner is to develop a trusting relationship with your pet’s veterinarian and health care team. An open line of communication is important with your veterinarian especially during times of medical illness. Veterinarians are bound by not only the state regulatory boards, but we have national groups like the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) that set up policies and protocols to help veterinarians and veterinary health care team members to protect and save pets’ lives. Dr. Goldman had a great post at PetDocsOnCall.com about trusting your veterinarian. Click here to read the post. It is post #14.
The Gardner Animal Care Center voluntarily chooses to have an accreditation team thoroughly inspect our hospital and protocols to insure that certain standards are met and adhered to. AAHA states, “Choosing an AAHA-accredited hospital assures pet owners that the hospital they select has the staff, equipment, medical procedures and facilities that AAHA believes are vital for delivering high-quality veterinary care. Find out why AAHA standards are important to your pet.” Click here to read about AAHA Accreditation Standards.