Upon reading my newspaper on my commute to work this morning, an article grabbed my attention. The Globe and Mail, and Metro News are both reporting today about an 8 year old cat named Lady, who visited the vet for a flea bath and ended up being euthanized. The owner of the cat had her 24 year old son to bring Lady to the vet and accidentally signed forms allowing her to be euthanized. The woman is calling for a lawsuit on the grounds of negligence against the vet, Dr. Muhammed Malik. Obviously we don’t know the entire story, as both sides usually differ in their accounts, but from my own experience I know these things can happen. The son is reporting that originally he thought this was some kind of joke.
I work in a dental office, and I have seen dentists preform treatment that was not agreed to by the patient. This could range from pulling the wrong tooth, drilling a cavity prep on the wrong tooth, etc. How do these things happen? Negligence occurs usually when people are stressed, extremely busy or behind in their job (especially when there is a schedule), or when they are tired. Doctors whether they be treating humans or animals need to triple check that they are a) working on the right patient and b) doing the correct treatment. I’ve also seen patients receiving treatment that they agreed to and by no negligence of the Doctor the patient was angry after the fact because they didn’t understand what the treatment really was, or they just didn’t listen.
Of course it it possible that Dr. Malik didn’t make a mistake and found something on the cat that suggested that his quality of life was no longer good enough and purposefully suggested euthanasia, but the son didn’t understand that, or bother to contact the Lady’s true owner, his mother before signing.
How can we avoid losing our pets to negligence, or to understand what occurs during vet visits?
- Accompany your pets to the vet if possible, and be with them during treatment if possible
- Make sure your pet has ID on their collar
- Double read anything you are asked to sign and ask questions
- Get a second opinion if you are worried about the treatment being suggested
- Take a day to think about treatment if you’re uneasy about it, unless your pet is obviously suffering.
- Make sure you trust your vet and if you have a sick feeling about the practice, find another one.
Relationships with our vets are important ones. They have knowledge and education that we don’t. We may not understand what they are talking about so it is our responsibility to make sure we dissect the information and understand it before signing on the dotted line.
For more information on this story please visit this webpage.