Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ruby again

It’s been such a worrying thing I dread the thought of posting the entire story, so I’ll just refer you to Stanley’s blog (which he is finally resurrecting) to read the details.

What he doesn’t go into detail about is that the perforation was caused by the Deramaxx that was prescribed by vet Matthew Palmisano of VCA/Norwalk, who did the fifth knee surgery operation. We still don’t know why he prescribed this as he KNEW—or should have known since it was on the paperwork we gave him—Ruby was getting carafate and pepcid—stuff to soothe her stomach because an ulcer was suspected (she did not get Deramaxx after her 4th surgery). I suspect he didn’t bother reading what meds she was on and just prescribed the standard post-op stuff—SOP for far too many specialists, both animal docs and human docs. So, he might be a fine orthopedic surgeon and he might have done a fine job on Ruby, but if he kills the dog in the process because he’s careless about reading her case history, he’s not such a great vet, is he?

What really made us angry was the people at VCA—the receptionists treating us like shit and the vets we saw, one of whom was the medical director or something, denying VCA did anything wrong, arguing with us about it. And then telling us that it would cost us between $6500 and $7600 for them to fix Dr. Palmisano’s mistake with only a 50% chance of Ruby even recovering.

All I could think of is all the pain Ruby would go through at that place, how frightened she’d be, and to go through all of that with a shitty prognosis, I just couldn’t do it to her and we just couldn’t afford it, not for such an awful prognosis.

Dr. Kurose and the staff at Strawberry Hill Animal Hospital saved Ruby—she’s still doing well (knock on wood)—which amazes us. He asked if he could try to save her and assured me that he would make sure she was on pain medication, and we knew she loves the staff at SHAH, so she wouldn’t be so alone and frightened. I wept when he offered to try to save her. He and the staff did a wonderful job—we just have to figure out how we can repay them for all the extra miles they went to save Ruby’s life.

Since our encounter with VCA, we’ve heard nothing but bad things about them. We weren’t especially happy with them after our first encounter with them when Ginger needed to be rehydrated back in 2008 during her battle with lymphoma. They charged way too much money for what they did and when we got her back, she smelled so bad we couldn’t believe it—she didn’t smell bad when we brought her in less than 24 hours earlier. So I have my doubts about the sanitary conditions there.

One colleague told us they ruled out the condition that actually killed his dog, and another colleague told us they charged a fortune for exploratory surgery to try to figure out what was wrong with his dog.

And this time, VCA charged us $1000 for a two-hour emergency stay, giving her an ultrasound and some tests to see what was wrong with her (they didn’t even locate the perforation).

The VCA receptionists were horrible—we had no idea why we had to fill out more paperwork for Ruby when they had just seen her a couple of days before we brought her in and one receptionist tracked us down in the clinic to hand us a bill when we had no idea what was going on, and laughed when we told her we had no idea what was going on.

We need to find another emergency animal hospital—I never want to go back to VCA unless we have absolutely no choice. I’ll drive to New Haven if I have to.

Okay, my rant is done I think.

posted by lee on 01/25/11 at 01:58 PM

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