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James31

Vet misdiagnosis

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My first reaction was disappointment. Then I came to think perhaps it was a victory of sorts. We could have had a hearing and this could have been the outcome.

 

However, when I think of all the rcvs guidelines the vet has broken... What is the point of the college if they won't enforce their own rules? Some of the breaches even amount to what the RCVS describe as gross misconduct (e.g. editing medical notes and lying to RCVS; dishonesty).

 

Still haven't had a letter from them yet and the meeting where the decision was made was 2 weeks ago.

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3 weeks and still no letter... they obviously can't even be bothered to write with the outcome now that they've washed their hands of it.

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They should have written to you but they haven't washed their hands of it if they are holding it open. It's actually a brilliant outcome because the matter is not closed and can be revisited at any time. In the meantime every move the vet makes is open to scrutiny without need for notice or further reason. She hasn't got away with it at all.

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Hightail, I know what you're saying and mostly agree, but it's not the outcome we wanted. Primarily, because it means we don't have answers to our questions and now have no way of finding out the truth. We have both agreed that this outcome could have occurred following a hearing, and so in that respect it's good and saved my wife the stress of it all. This whole episode has been quite detrimental to her health.

 

To remind you of one point in particular, the vet did a urine test, then said our cat was going to die within 4-8 weeks (kidneys has stopped functioning), there was nothing we could do, this was the end, etc, all very grim - call her up to have the cat PTS when the time was right. The results were delivered over the phone. She died 9 months later with Liver failure, kidneys were fine all along.

 

1. The vet said (via a solicitors letter) that the phone call had not taken place.

2. When RCVS made her produce her phone records, the call was listed in black and white. She changed her story to say that yes, the call took place, but that the test results were great and that nothing of any significance was said during the call.

 

Are they dumb?! It was over 8 minutes long! We're not in the habit of having our vet call us up to talk about the weather.

 

Of course, this is just one part of our complaint. However, in terms of wanting to get to the bottom of things, this is the main point that doesn't lay well with us. The vet lied to RCVS about this with apparent ease.

 

One of the things RCVS class as a serious departure from their guidelines is "dishonesty", and so I am puzzled about this outcome.

 

Still not had the letter though, so when I do I'll post up details. Almost a month now!

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One of the things RCVS class as a serious departure from their guidelines is "dishonesty", and so I am puzzled about this outcome.
Producing her phone records acted as a 'reminder' or she'd 'misunderstood the question' and had phoned you but the phone call with the content you claim never did take place. Both you and the vet know full well the truth of the matter but I'm just trying to point out what she could say. If it went to a hearing the standard of proof would be higher than they need to monitor her. There is the risk (quite high to be honest) that she would mount a very plausible defence and they would have to find in her favour. That would be the end of the matter and she would be cleared. The RCVS have, in my view, taken the best line on this in that she has not been given the chance to clear her name once and for all. She spends the next two years under the blackest cloud you can imagine and won't dare draw breath without checking to see who's looking on. If anyone else makes a complaint this open case will be included in any investigation. Edited by hightail
typo

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We had the letter back from them a couple of weeks ago.

 

In brief, they say:

 

a) We misunderstood what the vet told us on the phone about our cat dying. We heard "she has 4 to 8 weeks to live, call me when the time is right", but actually the vet was (apparently) telling us that the results were fine and in-line with previous tests.

 

b) Although the test results and notes from that phone call aren't in the clinical notes (every other test result and call is), it's ok because the vet produced a hand-written result on the back of an old bit of paper when they visited the premisis. Laughable.

 

c) Obtaining a backup of the clinical notes to compare with what has been produced by the vet is "impossible" because the vet could just fake one.

 

d) Although "not desirable", they find it acceptable that our cat was never weighed by the vet at any time (over an 18 month period) and therefore it was fine to prescribe meds which (probably) killed her a few days later and hadn't been tested on cats under 2.5kg (ours was).

 

e) We misunderstood what the vet said about the previous practice we went to, when she bad mouthed them. There were 4 people in the room when the vet made the remarks!

 

They gave the vet advice on just two issues relating to their guide to professional conduct and said they would make one unannounced visit in the next 6 months. I went through that list and found 18 clauses broken, not two.

 

Besides the above, there's also a couple of errors, things they haven't bothered to check which help prove our case, things they've totally missed out. In short it's highly disappointing. The content is disrespectful and stinks of a governing body that just can't be bothered to do a proper job.

 

I've written a reply to them and asked them for any info we don't currently have (data protection act request). I've said where I think they have failed and what I think they should do to put things right.

 

Well up for any form of battle in an effort to make sure they do their job, and have let them know as much.

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That's really disappointing-I guess the professionals stick together.........

I totally salute your efforts in trying to get some resolution to this case in memory of your beloved cat.

It makes me sick that she's free to continue misdiagnosing someone elses' animal......thankyou for keeping us updated throughout.

Try and have a Merry Christmas....you did do your best.....really.

 

Love Lynda XX:evil:

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Not heard back from RCVS as yet.

 

The info I requested under the Data Protection Act should be back at some point also. Determined not to let this drop. RCVS seem at this stage to be even more incompetent than the vet was.

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Well, we had some info back from our SAR request, on the 39th day of the 40 they are allowed (after I reminded them of this). It included meeting minutes, initial assessment reports, etc.

 

Unfortunately they say we aren't allowed access to some parts. There's a lot of blacked out portions - to the point where the data is almost pointless having. We can see that there was another complaint against the same vet, processed at the same time as ours. That one seems to have been closed with advice. We can't see what it was about but looks to be something related to out of hours support, advertising and euthanasia.

 

In our most recent letter to them, we asked many questions about how their investigation was conducted. They didn't try very hard to obtain some easy forms of evidence that would help to back up our case and sided with the vet each time there was any doubt. Also, we found 18 points within their guidelines that the vet had broken, whilst they found just 2. I also told them what they could do in order to obtain some proof on a few points, which we can't do ourselves and which they either won't or couldn't be bothered to think of.

 

They replied with a very short, useless letter which answered none of our questions and instead offered to come and visit us to discuss our concerns. We said we'd welcome a meeting with them, but they need to answer our questions first in writing, else they will just try to smooth talk their way over their poor performance and decisions. No reply to that as yet.

 

I am becoming *increasingly frustrated* with RCVS. They don't seem to give two hoots about complaints and it is clear that they have not performed their duty.

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That's very interesting that they allowed you to see enough to spot that there had been a prior case !!!

I'd be beyond frustrated myself, I have to say, but it will be intriguing to see what gets said in your face-to-face should that happen !!!

 

Lynda~

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We were surprised too! Clearly a different complaint, different case number... Seems they covered both complaints off with a single visit.

 

Still no reply one week later to an e-mail I sent which said I'd welcome a meeting, but they must answer our queries first in writing. The letter they threw together must have taken all of 5 minutes to write and was practically empty.

 

My letter to them was 10 pages long!

 

Not going to let this drop. I'm not a serial complainer - they just haven't done their job here and I'm not having it.

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On 19th Feb I Chased for a reply to my letter of December.

 

"We'll be in touch soon", they said. Almost another 3 weeks have passed since then... What a shambles of an organisation. I have been waiting almost 3 months for a reply to my letter.

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Update:

 

We need some help from people with a keen eye!

 

After 7 months of asking we finally have been sent the urine test result via rcvs, we'd not previously seen it nor had a figure for this Urine Specific Gravity test, which wasn't recorded in the computerised notes but instead was written on the back of an old blood test. It was handed over to RCVS when they turned up at the premises after a small argument when they were initially refused entry without the vets lawyer being present.

 

Just to recap, we were told at the time that the result was dire and that our cat had 4-8 weeks to live, but the vet changed their story after our complaint and said it was the same as previous results, unremarkable, etc.

 

I've uploaded the scanned photocopy that we have been sent to: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11773181/test.pdf

 

The disputed test is the one dated 26/9 (2009). The figure is supposedly 1.032, but looks like it has been changed at some point.

 

What was the figure underneath? (Options are 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4).

 

Thanks.

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I'd guess at 4......it looks more that under there than 0,1,2 or 3.

Hmmmmmmm....

 

Cheers, Lynda~

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Well, that was good work and I was rubbish at getting it right !! So does this make a mammoth difference in her results ?

 

Cheers, Lynda~

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what is a "subject access report" and will that help me get a copy of my cats x-rays from my vet who so far has not given me them depsite many weeks of asking?

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Elsa, do you happen to know any links for solicitors that deal with professional negligence by vets? Our beautiful family cat died after a vaccination, We have quite a bit of expert opinions who agrees it was gross negligence. I have been researching 24/7 since out darling boy died - and also been looking for solicitors who specialize in animal negligence but seem very hard to find.

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Go to the law society and check their listings. Nobody is allowed to post recommendations to specific solicitors on CAG.

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Sensus, certainly the way to go. Unfortunately we learned the hard way that the RCVS aren't fit for purpose. It ends up being a long, drawn out process to complain through them and even when presented with tonnes of evidence (we even had falsified test results), only the absolute minority get justice (less than 1%).

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James I read your story and was furious for you. I agree the RCA, Vets, Pharmas - law to themselves with no accountability. I had to rush my poor boy into hospital - the cost was £3,800 eventually! They vaccinated him even when I told them at the second vacc. that he was sick and had had a reaction from the first (I didn't realize that at the time). Like many people, we trust vets. Now I wouldn't trust any of them. There's heaps to know about vaccinations that they don't tell you as well and it seems that they are given free reign. I have just requested the surgery notes but I am expecting problems and errors with them. For sure. Thank you so much for replying......so sorry and I admire all the work you did. It is so hard and it takes it out of you.

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£3,800 is a fair whack isn't it.

 

The notes we received from our "vet" had been heavily edited. We knew this was the case because of some glaring mistakes and there was even evidence of a "newer" user of their system logged against notes which were created prior to that user existing (i.e. editing). I begged RCVS to ask her to produce a backup for comparison against the printed report we received. They're so out of date that they couldn't see or understand my reasoning, but I'm a software engineer and knew it was possible to have it verified it using a number of methods. They don't have the knowledge or the power. If you look at most of the cases where vets have been struck off, it's usually related to sexual offences (both humans and animals) or drug related (i.e. misuse of prescription drugs). They admitted that they don't have the ability to do what I asked - even though they are sitting on a cash pile of millions of pounds.

 

Outside of that, evidence has to be of the same quality that you might use in a court of law when convicting a murderer, for example. I must stress that this "vet" wasn't our regular vet - she's just somebody who earns an income from driving around putting animals to sleep in Sussex. She used to advertise her services as a vet but now only does euthanasia in a big, fancy Range Rover Evoque. I even complained about that to RCVS, it can't be right to earn a crust putting animals to sleep, not least because not all of them will actually need it. Veterinary care first, euthanasia second, in my opinion. But again, RCVS didn't think that mattered.

 

Back to your poor puss, it's very painful when you lose a cat and even more painful when you know that if not for the actions of a particular person, that cat would probably be around today. The anger will never go away so be prepared for that. It's still as raw for us now as it was back in 2010 - it was this day in 2010 in fact and we've only just got back to exchanging valentines cards!

 

The vaccination, was it just the usual annual ones that cats have? I don't understand from what you said, was it the case that he was ill after the first one and then became gravely ill one year later after the second?

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Reading back through this thread, I realised that I never updated it with the final outcome. A vet and an investigator from RCVS eventually came to our house to talk about it all.

 

They said that they believed us throughout. Without so much as saying it, they indicated that they knew she had lied, cheated, covered things up and was at fault and that the only reason they didn't proceed to a hearing was that the standard of evidence just wasn't high enough.

 

That annoyed me because they certainly could have taken steps (as I mentioned before) to obtain evidence by methods I couldn't do myself, but chose not to. And so again, the bottom line is - don't bother with RCVS unless it's sex/drug related as a rule of thumb. I remember there being some movement towards the underlying law being changed to cater for negligence claims but in 2011/12 this was nothing more than a green paper and seemed years off coming into effect, if at all.

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James31 I did just write a very long reply but I seem to have lost it. I can't write it all again. The summary is the vet surgery didn't follow safe protocols (check WSAVA for proper advice on annual vaccinations); he restarted my 11 yr old Saffi on the second vacc. didn't believe he was already having an adverse event from his first vaccination 3 weeks earlier! I insisted he look again & 7 days later he did an ultrasound and found all the fluid in Saffi's tummy. His answer was confusion & suggested euthanasia etc ....Basically they just let him get worse & worse doing nothing till I demanded a referral for the R.V.C.Hospital (hence the big bill) and there finding was "Ascities: cause unknown" prognosis: eventual death. It has been registerd with the Vet Med Directorate as a SAR (serious adverse event) but I won't be given a copy of their report as it is "confidential" (Big Pharma's Business eh...) The hospital (RCVS) sent Saffi's reports etc to my surgery "thanking them for their referral and supporting their work..." !! How is that for rubbing salt into the wound. I'm going to write to the hospital & the RCVS but I don't expect them to do a single thing. I am gathering evidence from experts in the field as I think that the way many of these vets treat the public is like cash cows......and keep them in the dark and don't give them all the information they need to decide WHETHER to vaccinate their pets and how frequently it is really needed. It was a truly shocking and traumatic experience (as you know well). Apparently Adverse Events don't get reported so pharma companies etc which makes their research evidence flawed. The general public are entitled to the truth. The only reason this came out was because I'm an ex health worker and I joined the dots, so to speak. Bit late though for my precious boy.

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