Opinion on Vets: Service or Money?

Discussion in 'Dog Health Care' started by PoodleMommy, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    This debate has been going on, on another forum I am on, long story and not mine to re-type so very simply put... someone brings their dog to the vet in serious distress, vet refuses treatment without payment upfront, vet then also refuses to put the dog to sleep... the dog ends up dying at home after suffering for hours... assume rural area, no other vet in town.

    Was the vet right or wrong?

    I thought that the vet should at least agree to PTS and set up a payment plan for that.

    Many thought that the vet was right, services shouldnt be rendered without payment. The argument was that vets shouldnt be expected to provide free services and likely the person wont pay once the dog is gone.

    I feel like there are ways to force payment, if a contract has been signed... time consuming yes, but still available. And I would think a vet would want to prevent suffering even if they never got paid... I dont expect them to provide costly services but I cant imagine any vet is going to go under due to a few euthanasia shots.

    But, obviously this wasnt the popular opinion... so whats your opinion?

    And Yes, I know you shouldnt have a dog without a financial reserve for emergencies or a CC available... I wouldnt... but assume its too late, whats done is done.
     
  2. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

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    That's one of those cases where I feel the vet was well within their rights to do nothing, refuse services.

    But honestly, imagine being in the vet's shoes. I can't see myself not putting down the dog, for the dog's sake. I can't see a person who cared about animals refusing to put down an ailing dog. Hell, if they didn't want to waste the euth drugs they could've gone over with a rifle, since it was a rural area. Depending on the owner's attitudes towards the situation, that might even have been the better method.

    Some people don't care about animals one way or the other, so it would make total sense to me if they just said "tough". But a vet? I just don't get it. Forget about people, a few bucks, an hour or two or time. Do you, or do you not care about animals???

    In short I don't think the vet was in the wrong but I do think that they are one f'ed up vet.
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    I can't even imagine a vet not treating an emergency. If it were my dog, I'd be contacting the AVMA.

    The financial reserve can also become quite insufficient. I've been lucky to not have emergencies that cost over $1500. But many times a vet bill can end up costing $5000+ and not a lot of pet owners are going to have that kind of reserve.
     
  4. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    First, this. Now yes, it would be nice for a vet to be able to put the dog to sleep, then make a payment plan. That is how people see it from the customer viewpoint. You have to realize, that from the staff viewpoint, when somebody has a pet pts at a vets office, something rediculous like 95% of the time, they change vets. Payment plan is no good if the person is no longer there to make payments.

    Legally wrong? No, he was fully in his rights. Morally wrong? Yes, very, very yes I think the very principal of the vet letting the dog suffer instead of ending its suffering, that vet needs to rethink his career choice. You become a vet because you love animals, and do not want them to suffer. It should ALWAYS be love before money, IMHO
     
  5. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    and that's definitely an issue. we have had clients close bank accounts, cancel credit cards, vanish.

    but i still can't imagine a vet not stabilizing a pet in crisis before even addressing the money issue. the vets i work for have certainly refused treatment on the grounds of no money, but never for anything immediately life-threatening. maybe that's just because i've worked for the right kinds of people? i don't know.
     
  6. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    well if there is an outstanding bill, they can be taken to court... not the ideal situation but still an option for the vet.
     
  7. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    If I were a vet there's no way I could refuse service like that and still sleep at night. Sure, it's perfectly within a vet's right to do that... but assuming you go into the profession because you want to relieve the suffering of animals, well, it just doesn't make sense. I really don't think it'd have been that big of a deal for them to perform the euthanasia and possibly not get payment for it (POSSIBLY--can't assume this person won't pay it back). My vet has performed many services for free for us and he hasn't gone out of business because of it.
     
  8. AGonzalez

    AGonzalez Not a lurker

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    My hometown vet was known for doing everything she could, whether the person could pay upfront or not. She's been known to come in in the middle of the night to pump a poisoned dogs stomach and make a payment agreement since the owner couldn't afford it.

    I think the vet could have at least put the dog down for them. That is not NEARLY as expensive as they charge for, otherwise how could one place charge you $40 while some it's well over $100? it's the same medication.
     
  9. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    I know it is the vet's legal right, but morally I can't imagine refusing treatment like that.....
     
  10. BabyDane

    BabyDane New Member

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    There is no question about it at my work. If a dog comes in the door in distress, there is no question we treat it. The first thing we do is stabilize, then tell the owner that we will do our best and to go home and relax. Payment is the last thing that my boss worries about. I don't think she has any trouble sleeping at night ;)

    There have only been a few times that someone has walked out on their bill completely...I think 2 times. Maybe its just due to the area or the clients we have.

    One of our clients forgot their wallet at home in an emergency situation and was freaking out about not being able to pay right away. We told him to calm down and that everything will be ok.

    Heck, the day before yesterday a woman, not even a client, brought in a tiny 8 week old puppy that she had found on the side of the road. Freezing, starving, raging staph infection from a previous injury not being treated, blind, seizures every 3 minutes, and homeless we still treated this puppy. No one is paying for it except my boss, out of pocket.

    I guess this raises a question of one of the things you ask a vet when you interview them before you actually go to them.
     
  11. theresa92841

    theresa92841 Gigi Monster & Evil Puppy

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    I think a vet is well within his/her rights to refuse treatment . . . even putting the animal to sleep. I would not begrudge them for doing that one bit. Because for me, in the end, my pets are 100% my responsibility and nobody elses. So the shame of me not being able to pay and have my animal in distress is 100% my moral obligation and has nothing to do with the vet.

    I would be upset. But at myself.
     
  12. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

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    Right, I completely agree that it wasn't really the vet's OBLIGATION. BUT...

    If you were a vet, could you know a dog was suffering a terrible death, and just go "oh well, it's the owners fault!" rather than begrudge the poor animal a couple hours and a few bucks?

    There is a human element to this and a dog element.

    The human element deals with who is at fault, money, who is responsible, blah blah blah. But when it comes down to it, at the point the animal was suffering, the person who could relieve that suffering was the vet... not as a favor to the owners... who cares about the owners? But simply because they care about the dog.

    If you are driving along and you see a squirrel at the side of the road that has been hit and has a broken back, you would stop and put it out of its misery if you could stomach it, right? Not because it's your responsibility per se, but because you can.

    I don't think people MUST feel compassion for animals. But a vet is supposed to, no? Kind of a weird vet that doesn't.
     
  13. Crowsfeet

    Crowsfeet facetious.

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    Very weird, and hm, maybe a little inhumane.

    Situations happen where people lose money. People have voiced multiple times on this forum that they would rather lose their home than their dogs. Being a veterinarian should be one of the most empathetic lines of occupation you could possibly have - caring for and trying to read into the health and ailments of a species that isn't even your own.
     
  14. BabyDane

    BabyDane New Member

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    And to be honest....to help a dog in an emergency situation wouldn't really cost that much. I mean cost to the vet, for supplies and such.

    An emergency vet bill that is $1500 or something like that is mostly just paying for the vet's time and energy. Even if it were surgery to fix something like GVD, the cost of supplies and anethesia is minimal...under $100 probably. X-ray film is expensive in comparison though.

    So in actuality its just mostly up to the vet if they want to put in the energy and time, even if there is the possibility that they might not get paid for their time.
     
  15. theresa92841

    theresa92841 Gigi Monster & Evil Puppy

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    I don't equate compassion to a vet having to perform medical intervention for no cost. I don't see the problem in being a vet and caring about animals but also having to maintain a business attitude. I don't see it as a compass on whether a vet is compassionate or not. I can care about something and choose to not do something for other overarching reasons.

    So again, as the dog's owner it is me who should have compassion for the vet who needs to make a living and run a viable business and not expect that because a vet is in a healing business that s/he should override business concerns.
     
  16. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    The vets I work for would have PTS. They wouldn't allow it to suffer. If someone walks in the door with a distressed dog, we won't turn it away. (Because even if they don't pay, it is only $30 we are out.) If someone calls and says they have no money, we of course refuse treatment and suggest they try another vet, or if it is really that bad off, we might gently suggest to them they consider PTS and tell them they'll have to pay up front. We won't dispense meds, do surgeries, or tons of care.. but the least we can do is PTS.

    ETA: I would not work for a vet that was sooo obsessed with making a profit that would refuse to at least PTS a dog that is suffering. Refusing treatment - if they can't pay, then so be it. Owner's fault, not the vets. BUT, that vet has a moral obligation to any animal that enters its doors, IMHO, especially if the animal has been seen there before. Not to treat it, but to at least end its suffering.
     
  17. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    was there a reason they did not try another vet or an animal shelter to get the dog treated/euthanized?
     
  18. iibao

    iibao .

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    If I were a vet, at least I would put it down. Money can be talk about later.
    Dogs have taught me there's more important things than money. Torture is just
    wrong.
     
  19. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    I pretty much agree with what has been said.

    I mean yes, it is within the vets rights to refuse treatment. But morally, it is wrong to let that animal suffer when you could relieve them.

    I think you can argue about who's responsibility it is, but in the end, it is the dog who pays.
     
  20. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion Thanks, and Gig 'em.

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    Wouldn't do you a lick of good. A vet's only legal obligation is if they deem that the animal can't make it to another vet's office, at which point they only have to stabilize, not treat.

    We don't know the whole story. Maybe the vet offered to give pain medicine so the animal could be brought to another vet and the owner declined? Why didn't the owners bring the dog to another vet? Or euthanize it themselves with a gunshot instead of leaving it to suffer for hours? It sounds like the owners are as morally bankrupt as the hypothetical vet in this situation.

    Can't help too many animals if you're broke from giving out free services. A vet is there to relieve suffering, but they're also there to make money. It is a business after all. Average debt load for a vet is $100,000 in student loans. Debt load for owner of an average sized clinic ranges from $500,000 - $2,000,000 and beyond.

    And the thing about the cost of the treatment only being $100 is bullshit, flat out. You may have taken the medical supplies into account but not the cost of the clinic and equipment that's required to utilize those supplies.




    Everyone wants vets to do free work because 'they love animals' and they compare the cost of vet med to the 'cost' of human med (their co-pay) and gripe about it. If only they knew. And it's infuriating that they don't and then you get situations like this, where the vet has a legitimate reason to ask for payment upfront and people balk at it. Vets don't get subsidization, insurance companies (though this is changing), etc. to back them up and recooperate losses. I can't even imagine how bad it'll get if the US gets 'free' health care.
     

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