Thursday, February 3, 2011

attempts to gag us

As some of you might know, the owner of College Park Animal Hospital, Thomas McMichael, contacted several review sites and petitioned them to have our reviews removed. He succeeded once or twice and failed to succeed with certain others. You can't help but wonder: wouldn't it be easier to do the right thing instead? Now another victim of veterinary negligence and abuse reported that attempts are being made to silence her. Her web site tells a story of her tragic experience at Crestway Animal Clinic in Texas, with a veterinarian by the name of Edward J. Nichols. Here is what the owner of the site had to say: "My legitimate, hard-earned high listings on the first two pages of Google – where they have been found quite readily for years whenever somebody searches either "Crestway Animal Clinic" or "Edward J. Nichols "– are sinking fast or disappearing entirely, with these new Nichols/Crestway spam sites rising just as quickly due to the artificially created sites/linkbacks. Crestway's spam sites contain little or no relevant content – most of the content is "canned spam" that says nothing about the clinic or Nichols -- the sites are generated ONLY for the purpose of manipulating Google rankings to "push" my legitimate site listing so far down nobody will ever find it."

You just shake your head. These are professionals our society is supposed to hold in high esteem.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

more about the censure and some thoughts

I was able to view a copy of the letter of censure sent to Nathan Wehrli and gleaned a few details from it. It turns out, initially the vet board brought charges against him for his failure to diagnose Smokey's heart disease. According to this letter, Wehrli's lawyer (it's not clear whether she was hired by the insurance or Wehrli himself), Jennifer Bachman(a human medical malpractice lawyer) helped negotiate a deal, whereby the formal charges were substituted with a censure, which is still a formal disciplinary action. Honestly, I don't care whether there are formal "charges" or a formal letter of censure in Wehrli's file. What matters to me is that, thankfully, this vet was told that he had to improve his clinical skills and, hopefully, he will become a safer vet for other people's pets than he was for mine. What I find very disturbing is that with all the action Wehrli felt was needed to address the misdiagnosis, he never once found the courage or had the decency to face meor express any regrets for my pet's needless suffering and untimely death. Smokey was my pet and my pal for 15 years, and his suffering and death were a tragedy for me and my family. The severity of the blow of this wrongful death could have been lessened at least to some degree if those responsible for the tragedy were decent and honest people. They weren't. Their dishonesty and cowardice compounded the grief manifold. I will never be the same person I was before this happened. One good (if you can call it that) thing that came out of this tragedy is that I am now active in educating other pet owners about the dangers their pets face at the vet's. I am also working with a few fellow Marylanders on reforming the state vet board so as to make it do the job of protecting all of our pets better than it has been. It's an uphill battle, and it looks as if I will be at it for the rest of my life. It's a fitting legacy for Smokey. He was a fighter too. Rest in peace,buddy. I love you always.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What happened to Smokey at College Park Animal Hospital?

What happened was tragic. It is painful to relive the three weeks of January 2008 that led up to Smokey's death on January 29th at the ER in Bowie, MD. It is so painful because, with the shared knowledge we have now, the regret of the blind trust we once had for veterinarians is enormous. If only someone had shaken us awake before it was too late! If only we had paid attention to the warnings of those who had walked this awful path before! If only, if only...The purpose of our work now is to avoid others the heartbreak of a pet's needless suffering.

We thought that the best way of giving a detailed day by day account of what happened would be to post the correspondence surrounding Smokey's ill-fated treatment at College Park Animal Hospital in January of 2008. Here are the links:

1. My letter to Thomas McMichael, DVM

2. Dr. McMichael's transcribed voice message to me on February 7th 2008 and my response to it on the next day

3. My response to Dr. McMichael's rebuttal to the State Veterinary Board

Monday, November 2, 2009

A College Park Animal Hospital Vet Receives a Formal Letter of Censure

I was just notified that the veterinarian who treated Smokey at College Park Animal Hospital received a formal letter of censure concerning his "failure to recognize cardiomegaly and increased pulmonary interstitial pattern on the thoracic radiographs taken of Smokey on January 8, 2008." This excerpt is from an October 29, 2009 letter from the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, addressed to me. The letter goes on to state that prior to accepting censure, this veterinarian "participated in classes offered at a regional conference as a means of improving his ability to read readiographs and ultrasounds." The letter to me also stated that a letter of censure is a matter of public record.