Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vet Removes a Dog’s Eye without Owner’s Permission

Pugs—which are expected to live for around 13 years—are very susceptible to eye conditions and disorders. With that said, when 12-year-old pug Chloe was burdened with an eye condition, it came as little surprise to the owner, Kimberly Hayden of St. Petersburg, Florida.

As any respectable dog owner would do, Hayden took her beloved dog to the local vet when she noticed a cloudy eye. What was her choice of veterinary hospital? It was the PetSmart-partner known as Banfield.

“We were sent home with three different eye drops […] two oral medications” explained Hayden.

Banfield was expecting a follow-up with Chloe in a few days, so Monday morning Hayden dropped her off before work.

She received a phone call at noon approximately 4 hours after the drop-off from a lady at PetSmart.

“Chloe is doing well. She’s recovering well from surgery.”

Hayden was in shock. Her dog’s cheap follow-up became an expensive, unauthorized surgery. Hayden had even signed paperwork that ensured anything costing more than $5 would be brought to her attention beforehand. This was not the case.

The Initial Reaction

When Hayden was re-introduced with Chloe, she broke down in tears.

“She immediately recognized my voice and came right to me. Jumped up, wanted to be in my lap, and curled up into a ball.”

It was shocking to Hayden for her dog to have undergone such extensive surgery without her permission, and understandably so.

She’s been working closely with Chloe and trying to help her adapt, saying “She’s stumbling, bumping into things. It’s just been very traumatic. It feels surreal,”

Banfield’s Response

The manager at the St. Petersburg Banfield Hospital where this event took place personally stepped up and admitted that a terrible mistake had been made.

Further up the management line was Ari Zabell, the client advocate for Banfield Pet Hospital with the following statement:

"At Banfield Pet Hospital, we are committed to partnering with clients in all decisions regarding their pet's care. In the instance of Chloe, although the care provided was medically necessary based on the severity of her condition and lack of response to therapy, we did fail to get surgical authorization from the client on the day of the procedure. However, we had previously discussed the need for surgery with the client-we also communicated that surgery was critical to alleviate Chloe's pain and potential for infection. We apologize for the lack of clear communication and will continue to attempt to reach Ms. Hayden in an effort to further resolve her concerns. In the meantime, we wish Chloe a speedy recovery."

Possible Legal Actions?

Owner Kimberly Hayden has stated that any legal actions that she chooses to take are purely sympathetic.

Her main focus seems to be the prevention of future veterinary malpractices in similar situations

She whole-heartedly explained that “If I can do anything with what happened to us yesterday to help others, then unfortunately this was a bad thing but we did good from it,”

Hayden has plenty of wiggle room for pitching a successful case, but only time will tell us exactly how much compensation she is seeking for the case.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900