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sharon1961

Veterinary records/notes retention

23 posts in this topic

Hi all,

 

Recently we lost our much loved cavalier King Charles Spaniel due to an illness at the vets. We took him into an AEC at 6.30 on a Friday night when he was just slightly not himself/quiet and refused to eat a much loved treat at that time.

 

During this time at the vets we were concerned about a few things that happened at the vet but stupidly thought he would be in good hands so left him in their care. We rand with his symptoms before we went in and they said bring him in which we did immediately. We then had to wait in the waiting room for an hour on arrival with no one even looking at our dog because they said they had a very sick dog on a ventilator who needed their attention.

 

When the vet finally came, it was another half an hour after chatting that she looked at our dog, with her constantly going off to deal with the other dog.

 

8 Hours later our beloved little boy was gone and we dont know why, the vet said she didnt know as all xrays on lungs, heart and stomach and blood tests were fine earlier. A few hours after admission 12.30 am he was pooing blood 

so they diagnosed hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, the vet rand to tell me this also saying his breathing was a bit laboured.

 

Our other 2 Cavies have also had this over the years and was told by another vet it was another common problem with cavies and my other 2 spent a few days in the vets (another one) on fluids and antibiotics and recovered well so I assumed he would as well.

The vet then rang at 3am to say come say goodbye he was dying, we found him struggling hard to breathe and almost unconscious and in a great deal of distress with no oxygen ...nothing.

We made the choice to end his suffering after the vet said his organs were shutting down and he would not live much longer and no hope.

 

The vet said she had never seen a dog die from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and she had no idea what happened or why he died, saying "something else must have been going on... to say we were and still are devastated 3 weeks later is an understatement.

 

In the following days, what happened to our boy haunted me so I rang and asked the vet practice manager to see a detailed invoice and the notes , they refused to let me see them or anything. I emailed her and have asked politely 3 times and they will not respond.

 

When our dog was struggling to breathe and distressed at 3am he started to fit so I went and knocked on the door where the vet was saying "please come, something is happening to him " and the vet nurse snapped at me saying " The vet is busy with a very sick dog and she will come when she can".

 

My questions are.. Why was he left to suffer for so long struggling to breathe with no oxygen and no ventilator to ease his suffering?  Did they only have one oxygen /ventilator which they were using for the other dog?

 

Did they neglect to care for my dog being busy with another one?

 

Why did they say "Bring him in when i rang" if they were clearly too busy, why not say that and suggest we go to another AEC?

 

My questions are.. Why was he left to suffer for so long struggling to breathe with no oxygen and no ventilator to ease his suffering?  Did they only have one oxygen /ventilator which they were using for the other dog?

 

Why wont they let me see the notes to see what treatment he had?

 

Why wont they give me a detailed bill?

 

How can i get to see his notes/report, what do i need to do, FOI, Lawyer?

 

Is there any body  that can investigate this?

 

They said they dont give out or show clients the report/notes. A few years ago I always got to see the notes, detailed bill. it seems this is a new "rule" to stop clients identifying neglect/malpractice but surely we are entitled to know if our dog was cared for and things paid for were actually carried out.?

 

I dont feel I can move on unless I know they did everything they could

It seemed he was was pretty much left to die.

 

PS.. the other "very sick" dog survived, my little Egg didnt.

 

 

 

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Hi sorry this has happened to you, if you really feel the vets haven’t done the right thing and they will not listen, or give out anymore information you can contact the vet board in your state and lodge a complaint.

It can be a long process and although it won’t bring your little one back it might help getting some closure.

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Boronia   

Can your regular vet obtain the notes? They would be required for insurance anyway

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I don’t have any absolute knowledge of how records can or should be released but my immediate thoughts are that you have paid for these procedures and as such you “own” them.  When you change doctors/dentists/physios/other you are entitled to have your records passed on to the next practitioner.  

 

Your grief and devastation are immense and you and your little dog deserved so much more.  My deepest sympathies to you and your family.  

 

Definitely contact the Aust Veterinary Assoc (if that is the correct name).  This needs to be investigated.  

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Diva   

Try and find the veterinary registration board in your state, it is they that deal with complaints and have the authority over who is registered to practice.

The vet association is just an industry body for vets, it has no power to impose sanctions. 

Do you have a day-to-day vet who could ask for the records to be released to them? Another vet might have more chance.

A friend went through this once and got no satisfaction. If it happened to me today I would probably go straight to the vet registration board and a lawyer. They may have done nothing wrong but refusing you an itemised account sounds dodgy.

Edited by Diva
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1 hour ago, Diva said:

Try and find the veterinary registration board in your state, it is they that deal with complaints and have the authority over who is registered to practice.

The vet association is just an industry body for vets, it has no power to impose sanctions. 

Do you have a day-to-day vet who could ask for the records to be released to them? Another vet might have more chance.

A friend went through this once and got no satisfaction. If it happened to me today I would probably go straight to the vet registration board and a lawyer. They may have done nothing wrong but refusing you an itemised account sounds dodgy.

From some of the stories I’ve seen on DOL, the vet registration board is very “protective” of its members, deserved or not.  I agree that refusing to give you an itemised account sounds more than dodgy.  All the accounts I’ve has from vets give minutely itemised accounts.   

 

If you can afford, at least speak to a lawyer.  

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Diva   
1 hour ago, Dame Danny's Darling said:

From some of the stories I’ve seen on DOL, the vet registration board is very “protective” of its members, deserved or not.  I agree that refusing to give you an itemised account sounds more than dodgy.  All the accounts I’ve has from vets give minutely itemised accounts.   

 

If you can afford, at least speak to a lawyer.  

The Vet registration boards/vet practitioner boards don’t have members (except the few sitting on the board itself). They are statutory authorities established by the states and territory governments.

It is the AVA which is the protective member body. 

But in all these things you run against the difficulty of getting your hands on the evidence and getting others in the profession to openly say something was done wrong. The client is disadvantaged before they even begin.

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stellnme   

Dogs can, and do, definitely die from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.  When my boy had it, my vet said that time is of the essence in getting treatment.  I had a very sick boy on a drip at the vet for several days.  It can come on quite quickly without any prior signs.  My first sign with my dog was him pooing blood and we went straight to the vet, and after treatment, my dog recovered well.  No idea if this was the problem with your little one and I'm so sorry this happened to him and to you.

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Danois   

Records of the Vet belong to the Vet. There is no obligation to provide them to the owner - nor right of an owner to demand them.  There is a case (from Supreme Court) supporting this. 

 

If requested by another Vet, the Vet may release them if necessary for the treatment of the animal.  That’s in the AVA Code. 

 

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Malamum   

I am so sorry this happened and I can understand how devastated you must be.

 

I also totally understand how upset you must be if you feel that your dog wasn't given adequate attention.  I can't really comment on the attention given by the vet and staff but I just wanted to say that this is the second deadly case of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis that I've heard of in the the last few weeks.

 

Someone on a Facebook group I am a member of had circumstances that sounds very very similar to yours.  Her dog (which was less than a year old) was not quite himself and seemed off so she posted about taking him to the vet to get checked.  I woke up the next morning to see that he didn't make it.  It seems that things escalated very very quickly with him too. :(

 

Again, I can't comment about the treatment your dog received but I did want to share the story so you know that what happened to your little boy isn't necessarily an isolated incident and that hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can definitely be fatal.   I'd personally never heard of it until a few weeks ago.

 

I'm so sorry you had to go though this.    

 

 

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Thank you everyone for your lovely words of condolence, this little dog was family and much loved by our family and especially my fatally ill son, we are all still devastated 3 weeks on.

 

The vet in question used the excuse , the AVA regulation stops them handing out notes/reports and their hands are tied.

 

Yesterday I emailed the vet again asking for his case notes, Today I called the Aus Vet Asoc, and was lucky enough to talk for over an hour with a lovely vet who listened to what I witnessed at the vet clinic, what i saw my little boy go through and gave her all the info i had.

I asked her about the AVA regulation the vet said stops them handing out notes and was told that was untrue, no veterinary body has any law or regulation regarding this and vets are free to share the notes with dogs owners or not, so the vet practice lied to me.

 

She suggested as others have above, that i continue to email the vet asking for the notes, try to organise an in person meeting with them, ask them to send the information to another vet in which I can organise for them to meet with me and discuss what happened. She also strongly suggested I put in a complaint to the Vet surgeons board in my state as she feels the information I have shared shows there is a need for an investigation into the care provided to my dog. The problem is that they take 12 months to investigate.

 

Today i received a call from the vets saying under no circumstances will they release the records, so I asked them to send the records to my usual vet and told them I was going to make a complaint to the board.

20 mins later they rang and agreed to give me the records!!!!

 

But to our despair our fears were confirmed, after waiting so long (an hour) as they had a very sick dog on a ventilator, , the vet came to see our boy and said she would admit him, do blood tests, xrays, give pain and anti nausea meds along with fluids which the records show she did at 7;30pm, and my dog received NO MORE TREATMENT  nor were any more obs taken and recorded up until the moment he died in our arms desperately struggling to breathe at 3am.

 

He received none of the treatment the AVA thought we would find on his records with suspected shock, no warmed blanket, no oxygen, no ventilator, no blood transfusions ... nothing after 7.30 pm, they obviously just let our boy die  , Too busy? Only one ventilator used by the other dog?

 

 

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On 7/12/2018 at 11:03 PM, Rascalmyshadow said:

Hi sorry this has happened to you, if you really feel the vets haven’t done the right thing and they will not listen, or give out anymore information you can contact the vet board in your state and lodge a complaint.

It can be a long process and although it won’t bring your little one back it might help getting some closure.

The Vet Board, in my experience (3 well formed, breathing puppies killed in a Cesarian) is biased in favor of the vet.

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karen15   

OMG Sharon. How traumatic for you. I'd go and talk to one of those no win no pay lawyers and sue the arse off them for negligence.

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6 hours ago, sandgrubber said:

The Vet Board, in my experience (3 well formed, breathing puppies killed in a Cesarian) is biased in favor of the vet.

So what other options is there?

 

Edited by Rascalmyshadow

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7 hours ago, sandgrubber said:

The Vet Board, in my experience (3 well formed, breathing puppies killed in a Cesarian) is biased in favor of the vet.

I think most organisation are biased in favour of their members.  We think we can go to them for assistance, but mostly they are just a stonewaller.   

 

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My plan is to  ask for a meeting with the vet manager of the practice when she is back from holidays in Aug.

 

In that meeting I will ask for an apology, and force to them implement REAL procedures to ensure this does not happen again.

 

I put put in a complaint to the Veterinary board, but know that will not accomplish anything

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7 minutes ago, sharon1961 said:

My plan is to  ask for a meeting with the vet manager of the practice when she is back from holidays in Aug.

 

In that meeting I will ask for an apology, and force to them implement REAL procedures to ensure this does not happen again.

 

I put put in a complaint to the Veterinary board, but know that will not accomplish anything

You have to follow all avenues.  A couple of years ago, one of my dogs and I were treated dreadfully by SASH here in Sydney.  I carefully prepared a written paper set out by numbere and chronology and made an appointment with the vet in question.  I also sent a letter and the paper to the Administration Manager of the Hospital.  I waited and waited for a response from the A/Manager and it wasn’t until a few weeks later, I received a call from him.  He had been on holidays and in that time, none of his mail had been handled.  I think that indicated very poor and lacking procedures.  Of course, I have had good experiences with SASH and many people will sit them on the right hand of god, but sadly there are good and bad in any organisation and a some people who deal with very serious and life or death issues become arrogant and hardened and some never develop any skills at all.  They need to be pulled up from time to time and made to realise the grief that their actions or lack thereof cause.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dame Danny's Darling said:

You have to follow all avenues.  A couple of years ago, one of my dogs and I were treated dreadfully by SASH here in Sydney.  I carefully prepared a written paper set out by numbere and chronology and made an appointment with the vet in question.  I also sent a letter and the paper to the Administration Manager of the Hospital.  I waited and waited for a response from the A/Manager and it wasn’t until a few weeks later, I received a call from him.  He had been on holidays and in that time, none of his mail had been handled.  I think that indicated very poor and lacking procedures.  Of course, I have had good experiences with SASH and many people will sit them on the right hand of god, but sadly there are good and bad in any organisation and a some people who deal with very serious and life or death issues become arrogant and hardened and some never develop any skills at all.  They need to be pulled up from time to time and made to realise the grief that their actions or lack thereof cause.  

 

 

Thank you Dame, 

I feel the AEC was not equipped to deal with 2 very sick dogs at the same time and my little dog just didnt get the support ANY support he needed. Sadly we rang first and they said bring him in, and then had to wait an hour for the vet. I feel they should have given us the opportunity to take him elsewhere to another AEC rather than just let him die.

 

I always put trust in people, and until now never spoke up when i thought things were not right and am just gutted that this led to the death of my very much loved friend in such a cruel way.

The grief i feel has been much worse knowing what happened that night was so wrong, and I am finding it very hard to move forward.

 

I realize there is not much we can do now as nothing will bring him back, but I am so sad and angry that I am going to fight hard to make sure no other little dog has to suffer in this way.

 

I hope this thread will help others in the same situation, and have give all available steps i have found for recourse above so far, and at the end, I will name and shame this practice.... as I feel they dont deserve the option to hide under a veil of non transparency , as they tried very hard to do with me regarding his notes/reports.

 

I feel VERY strongly that every pet owner has the right to see if there pet was well managed and everything that could be done, was done in the event of their death, and will try as best I can to make that happen.

 

We have that right as humans, and we should also have that right with our little furry friends.

 

Cheers

Sharon

 

 

 

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I’m sorry for your loss, Sharon. I do know what you’re going through, as I’ve lost two dogs in the last decade when vets failed to take my concerns seriously. If it’s any consolation, Egg may have received better care than the notes indicate. Clinicians caring for people not infrequently fail to record the care they provide, despite warnings that “if it’s not documented it didn’t happen”. I doubt if busy vets and vet nurses would be any better at documentation.

 

Have you considered your options for ongoing routine and emergency vet care? In my experience, finding accessible after-hours veterinary care can be a struggle, and something that needs to be considered before an emergency occurs. In the last few years, I’ve alternated vets for routine checks and vaccinations, because I’m not happy with the closest after hours emergency vet, but sometimes any vet is better than none. I’ve also lost a dog to snake-bite on route to a more distant specialty after-hours vet practice.

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2 hours ago, DogsAndTheMob said:

I’m sorry for your loss, Sharon. I do know what you’re going through, as I’ve lost two dogs in the last decade when vets failed to take my concerns seriously. If it’s any consolation, Egg may have received better care than the notes indicate. Clinicians caring for people not infrequently fail to record the care they provide, despite warnings that “if it’s not documented it didn’t happen”. I doubt if busy vets and vet nurses would be any better at documentation.

 

Have you considered your options for ongoing routine and emergency vet care? In my experience, finding accessible after-hours veterinary care can be a struggle, and something that needs to be considered before an emergency occurs. In the last few years, I’ve alternated vets for routine checks and vaccinations, because I’m not happy with the closest after hours emergency vet, but sometimes any vet is better than none. I’ve also lost a dog to snake-bite on route to a more distant specialty after-hours vet practice.

Thanks for the kind words and I am so sorry to hear you have experienced loss with concerns for care as well, it just makes it so much much harder wondering if they could have lived.

 

I had 3 cavies and until recently we only had an AEC which was 50 mins drive from us, the next nearest 3  .5 hours. I have used that in the past and was not really happy with the care received but they were all we had. and all was ok. This vet AEC has just opened and 10 mins from home so have never been there before then.

 

We have some GREAT vets here but not after hours AEC.

 

I would have been very happy to take him to the the further away AEC if I knew at that time they had limited equipment and time that night... i believe they should have told us this while waiting and given us the opportunity to go.

 

I will Never go to this AEC again, and I only have one other option so will use that service in the future, and just have to pray it is not a life and death time urgent emergency.

 

I really worry now for my other dogs if an emergency occurs.

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