Veterinary Medical Associates
Added on August 6, 2016, by Reviewer1842733
Review: I am writing to bring to your attention an issue we had with a veterinarian we recently visited in Modesto. Below are the details of what transpired. I believe that a deceptive business practices are taking place within the establishment and I also had written the Better Business Bureau, the California Department of Consumer Affairs as well as the California Board of Veterinarians. I request that you follow this case as well as the establishment is within your jurisdiction. We went to the Veterinary Medical Associates and seen Dr. ****** after our female dog became infected with a bacteria in her eye after being spayed. Upon examining her eye his diagnoses was that she needed surgery urgently because there was an abscess behind the eye that was transmitted from her being spayed. He wanted us to leave her there that night for an operation that would take place the very next morning and that would cost $1600. She also had difficulty opening her mouth and Dr. ****** claimed that it was due to the abscess and when she opened her mouth it therefore put pressure on the infection. He gave her an antibiotic injection to prepare her for surgery but we opted not to leave her there overnight. Upon arriving home that very night we noticed that her eye was almost completely healed and her mouth appeared to be recovering as well. I called to cancel the surgery and asked if we can continue the treatment with antibiotics. He reluctantly agreed as he said that the abscess behind the eye could not be reached with medication and he still wanted to operate. The antibiotics worked perfectly. When we returned her for a checkup Dr. ****** admitted that his diagnoses was wrong since the alleged abscess was indeed neutralized without surgery. Along with our female we brought our male dog who had no major issues except for a minor ear infection as well as a small amount of pus around his eyes. For him we merely wanted to continue the eye drops we had been giving him when we were clients of our previous veterinarian. Without explaining why, Dr. ****** did numerous tests on our male dog disregarding our authorization and he did not explain the fees. He then charged us $704. Dr. ****** also wanted to operate on him to fix his minor eye problems anc clean his teeth. The next day Dr. **** ******, Dr. ******`s business partner, called us to update us with the test results which he did in less than 2 minutes, and of course our dog had no health issues. As far as Dr. ****** is concerned, I find it deplorable that a doctor would suggest surgery on a dog who had a minor problem. Her condition was obliviously treatable with medication. Wanting to rush into something as delicate and costly as surgery is quite disingenuous and, subsequently, charging us for multiple unnecessary tests without informing us as to their costs reaffirms our suspicions of deceptive activity on Dr. ******s part. I hope there can be a healthy solution by bringing these matters to your attention.Desired Settlement: APOLOGY AND REFUND
This note is a response to a complaint from *** and ***** ****, regarding two separate visits to Veterinary Medical Associates for care of their dogs ****** and *******.
On 3/19/14, ****** **** (a 2-year old, female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) was seen at Veterinary Medical Associates by Dr. **** ****** with three separate complaints: prolapsing gland of the third eyelid, a decreased appetite, and unwillingness to chew. ****** was recently spayed, and Ms. **** explained at length her feelings that ******’s medical problems were caused by the veterinary care that she had received at her previous veterinarian, whom had performed the spay. She also made mention of her plans to file a complaint about her previous veterinarian with the Better Business Bureau for poor practices of which she did not go into detail.
On physical examination, ****** showed severe pain when her jaws were opened, as well as the presence of a prolapsed gland of her third eyelid. The differential diagnoses for ******’s signs were discussed with Mr. and Mrs. ****, including retrobulbar abscess, retrobulbar neoplasia, and masticatory myositis. A plan was outlined for the diagnostic tests required to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. We also discussed the procedure that may have been necessary to treat a retrobulbar abscess, which was considered to be the most likely differential diagnosis at the time. An estimate was discussed, which the owners agreed to and signed without expressing discontent. ****** was given an antibiotic injection, which in the case of retrobulbar abscess, usually will not fix the problem, but which can decrease swelling and prevent worsening of the condition. ****** was scheduled the next day for the procedure necessary to diagnose (and treat, if present) retrobulbar abscess, and bloodwork was drawn to check ******’s systemic health before possible anesthesia.
The following morning (3/20/14), Mr. **** called with the update that ****** was showing some improvement, and elected to delay ******’s diagnostic procedure. An attempt to return Mr. ****’s call and discuss bloodwork from the previous day was unsuccessful. No message was left because the voicemail of the contact phone number that was left by Mr. **** had not been set-up. Mr. **** called back much later in the day, and was given the results of the bloodwork. He requested getting antibiotics for ******, instead of performing any more diagnostics. Dr. ****** explained that a definitive diagnosis had not been made, but that antibiotic therapy could certainly be attempted, despite the fact that veterinary research has shown poor cure response using antibiotic therapy alone for a retrobulbar abscess.
On 3/21/14, Ms. **** reported via telephone that ****** was showing improvement and scheduled a recheck appointment for 4/2/14. On re-examination, ****** was doing very well. Her prolapsed gland of the third eyelid had resolved and she no longer exhibited a pain response upon opening her lower jaw. We were happy to see the resolution of ******’s signs, although do not have a complete explanation for such resolution, given that no diagnostics were authorized. Upon review of ******’s case, we would not have changed our differential list or diagnostic plan.
At ******’s recheck appointment on 4/2/14, Mr. and Ms. **** also presented a second dog, ******* (a 7-year old, male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), for examination. They reported that ******* had an ongoing intermittent problem with ocular discharge, and Ms. **** expressed concern about the possibility of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a common disease process seen in the aging Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and it is rather easy to rule-out with a simple in-house diagnostic test. In fact, a glaucoma test is part of any normal ophthalmic examination.
On physical examination, ******* had mild conjunctivitis and discharge from both eyes. An ear infection was also found to be present, predominantly in the right ear. ******* also suffered from moderated periodontal (dental) disease. Diagnostic testing for the eyes and ears was discussed and explained to the owner at length. Performing bloodwork as a preventative check on *******’ systemic health (an extremely common procedure in any middle-aged animal) was also discussed. The owner agreed to all of these procedures, never asking for an estimate during the discussion.
Primary differentials for *******’ ocular issue before performing diagnostics included simple infection, dry eye, corneal ulceration, occluded nasolacrimal ducts, glaucoma, as well as others. In order to make a diagnosis and rule-out the more sinister disease processes, a full ophthalmic exam was performed, as well as several extremely common diagnostic procedures that are required before making a diagnosis of ophthalmic disease. Upon performing diagnostics, it was determined that ******* was suffering bacterial conjunctivitis in both eyes, secondary to occluded nasolacrimal ducts. This is a fairly common disease process that requires flushing of the ducts under anesthesia to prevent trauma to the eye. In order to maximize treatment under anesthesia, it was discussed to perform a common dental procedure to clean *******’ teeth during the same anesthetic period. Again, this is a common veterinary practice designed to maximize pet wellness while minimizing cost to owners (in order to avoid several different periods of anesthesia, which can become expensive).
After microscopic examination of the material from his ears, *******’ ear problem was determined to be the result of a yeast infection. Both ears were flushed to allow treatment with antifungal medication. Medications were provided to treat *******’ ear infection and conjunctivitis, and owners were sent home with the understanding that they would be contacted the following day to discuss *******’ bloodwork. The ****s were provided with the cost of diagnostic and treatment procedures from the day, and paid without question, leaving without raising concern from any staff members.
On 4/3/14, several attempts to contact Mr. and Ms. **** were made, again finding that their voicemail was not set up, and that no message could be recorded. Ms. **** called back during Dr. ******’s lunch hour, when he was away. A time for the doctor to call back was discussed. Dr. ****** attempted calling Ms. **** again at the previously discussed time, but again the attempt to reach her was unsuccessful. A previous engagement for Dr. ****** meant that he had to leave the office in the early afternoon, and *******’ bloodwork was left for another associate at VMA (Dr. ******) to discuss with Ms. ****. *******’ preventative bloodwork did not reveal any evidence of systemic disease, a positive finding in a 7-year old dog.
Ms. **** finally contacted VMA, at which point Dr. ****** discussed the bloodwork with her. Dr. ****** then asked how ******* was doing and if the ear medications were easy to get into his ears. At this point, Ms. **** became suddenly irate that no problems had been discovered, and became extremely accusatory and rude. Dr. ******, being rather blindsided by this concern, discussed with Ms. **** at length the cause of her sudden anger, apologizing several times for the unforeseen discontent, and trying to come to a happy conclusion. Ms. **** would not become reasonable, and instead insisted upon berating Dr. ******, Dr. ******, and Veterinary Medical Associates for an extended period of time. Dr. ******’s conversation with Ms. **** continued for more than 15 minutes. At the end of the conversation, Dr. ****** asked Ms. **** how we could remedy her concern, but she exclaimed that she would be reporting us for dishonest practices, and would prefer never to be contacted by us again.
Dr. ****** immediately contacted Dr. ****** and VMA’s office manager, trying to make sense of the situation, and to see if Mr. or Ms. **** had ever previously expressed discontent. Neither Dr. ******, nor any of the staff at VMA had any sense that the ****s were unhappy with the services that we performed for them, until the final phone call. We have reviewed the case in-house, and have determined that if any mistake was made, we should have been more forward about offering an estimate for *******’ diagnoses, but again, the ****s never expressed interest in obtaining one, and there were obvious reasons for the diagnostics and treatment performed. All of these reasons were discussed with the ****s at-length, despite their report of the opposite.
After review, there are several facts of this case that do not seem to make sense: 1) if the ****s were so upset at Dr. ******’s recommendations for ******’s care, then why would they bring her back in for reexamination, as well as their other dog, without ever expressing discontent; 2) if the ****s were truly upset with the costs of *******’ diagnostics, how come they did not express discontent at the time of payment; 3) Ms. **** made known on several occasions her threats to sue her previous veterinarian as a precursor to this situation, which appears to run along the same lines. In conclusion, while we agree that there was obviously some communication gap somewhere in the process of examination/diagnosis/treatment of ****** and *******, we do not believe we would have acted any differently, with the exception of being more forthright with offering the ****s an estimate for services regarding *******’ visit. At Veterinary Medical Associates, we try our hardest to balance the needs of the animal with the needs of the clients, all while adhering to national veterinary standards.
I am rejecting this response as I have several concerns in relation to the response provided by the Veterinary Medical Associates. Their response seems to be crowded with many incorrect and derogatory statements towards my wife, Dr. ****, who is a State employee: I am a witness of her conversations over the phone and I will not even attempt to jumble up the issue by getting into this in length: with one sentence: these statements are incorrect. Character defamation attempts are noticed and I will make the necessary notifications on this.