Saturday, June 5, 2010
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.