Within the last month, the Veterinary Medical Board (“Board”) elected to close two investigations into veterinarians Simas & Associates, Ltd. represented.
In both cases the Board closed the investigation without so much as a letter of education, which is typically the least invasive form of discipline. In these two cases however, the Board simply closed their investigation without any discipline whatsoever, and without feeling any need to educate these two veterinarians.
In one case, the complaint received by the Board was lodged by the owner of an elderly and incredibly fractious cat, who was so impossible to deal with. The cat was so difficult she actually posed a threat to the staff trying to care for her. Nevertheless, our client found a way (involving metal mesh gloves) to do the necessary evaluation and properly treat the cat.
Unfortunately, and unrelated to the care provided by our client, the cat later died after being treated at another clinic. For some unknown reason (possibly to escape liability themselves) the subsequent veterinarian attempted to throw our client under the bus, and suggested to the pet owner that our client was to blame for her beloved cat’s death. This was simply not true.
Through our well developed and proven process of handling Veterinary Medical Board matters, we were able to educate the Board on the true facts of the case, the medicine, and explain how our client’s care exceeded expectation, rather than falling below the standard. The Board agreed with our assessment and closed its file without further inquiry.
Were the Pain Meds Really for Fido?
In our other case, the pet owner who lodged the complaint contacted our client’s clinic to request a refill of a prescription for pain medicine for her dog. The particular medication that was being requested happened to be a highly addictive pain medication that is also used in humans.
When the owner called requesting this medication, it had been more than a year since she had last brought her pet in to the clinic, and our client informed the pet owner that she was required by law to examine the pet prior to refilling the prescription because of the length of time since the last exam.
Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations states in section 2031.1(c) that “A drug shall not be prescribed for a duration inconsistent with the medical condition of the animal(s) or type of drug prescribed. The veterinarian shall not prescribe a drug for a duration longer than one year from the date the veterinarian examined the animal(s) and prescribed the drug.”
When our client attempted to explain this regulation to the pet owner, she flew off the handle and demanded the medication for her dog. Our client offered a same-day appointment to see the dog so that the prescription could be refilled, but the pet owner claimed to be too busy.
A review of the file showed this particular pet owner had made many previous demands for this highly addictive pain medication, including a request for a prescription that would allow her to buy it in bulk. Perhaps this pet owner truly was giving the pain medication to her dog, but without re-establishing a veterinarian-client-pet relationship, and confirming this dog was alive, and still in need of the medication, our client simply could not comply with the pet owner’s demands.
Once again, our process worked like a charm! After receiving our responses to the allegations, the Board closed its investigation without further inquiry. We are ecstatic, and so is our client!