Wednesday, April 4, 2012
For the Love of an Angel
Almost a month ago I found a hard, pea shaped growth in Miss Bianca's abdomen. Since we women are taught early on to feel for just this type of growth in our breasts, I had a pretty good idea of what we were dealing with. I made an appointment with Bianca's vet and my worst fears were confirmed. It was a mammary tumor and needed to come out right away. The vet also recommended that Miss Bianca be spayed at the same time. I had never had her spayed before because I had previously lost a pet as the result of a spaying. If you've ever handed over a healthy beloved pet to a vet for spaying, only to be handed back a dead animal you'll understand my fear. Regardless of my fear, I walked straight from the examining room to the front desk and scheduled her surgery for the first available appointment. The dreaded day arrived and I handed her over to a vet tech at Cherry Point Animal Hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee. I cried all the way home and didn't take another deep breath until they called and said that the surgery was a success and Bianca was doing fine. They also said that they sent the tumor off to pathology and that it looked good. The vet recommended that she spend the night at the clinic, so I spent a very lonely night without my best friend. The next morning I picked her up at the very second that they said I could. I thanked them for taking such good care of her and took her home to make her comfortable. She slept for several hours and when she woke up I checked out her incision. Imagine my horror to find the tumor still in her abdomen. I was beyond distraught at the thought of her having to go through another unnecessary surgery when I didn't want her to have to go through the first one. I called the clinic telling them through my tears that the tumor was still in her abdomen. They told me I must be mistaken, that Dr Cherry had definitely removed the tumor. They offered several excuses and when I did not accept them they told me it must be a mix up caused by my cancelling Bianca's surgery and rescheduling it. This was a bold face lie, so my response was Bullshit! They hung up the phone. I called back and asked to have Dr Cherry call me. I was informed that it was his day off and he would not be calling me until the next day. I still don't know if he was informed on his day off or not. The next day when Dr Cherry did call me his voice was dripping with sarcasm and he asked what my problem was. I told him the problem was that he did not remove the mammary tumor that he was supposed to from Bianca's abdomen. He said that he had and that I needed to bring Bianca back to the office for him to understand what I was talking about. I took her immediately there and his attitude became increasingly unprofessional. He made fun of my losing a previous pet during a spaying and said that he had done a wonderful job of spaying Bianca and that he would sleep good that night. He could not even find the tumor in her abdomen even though it was visible even to the naked eye without even touching her abdomen. I had to show him where it was. He never took ownership of the mistake or offered to make it right, he simply defended his mistake as rudely as possible. I've never witnessed a so called professional behave in such a bizarre manner. I still have nightmares over it. His last excuse/lie was to tell me that he had left the tumor on purpose because it was in fact not a tumor, it was a swollen lymph node. I knew he wasn't telling the truth, but I was praying he was right so Bianca didn't have to go through another surgery. He said the "lymph node" would go down in about 30 days. I left his office vowing to never return to this Twilight Zone of a vet office. I waited two weeks for Bianca to heal and then took her to a wonderful vet in a neighboring town. He was very compassionate while he confirmed my worst fears...that the "lymph node" was indeed a tumor that should have been removed. We scheduled the surgery for his next surgery day. That was yesterday and Bianca is starting her second recuperation in just a few weeks. It's been really hard on her and totally unnecessary for her to have had to have a second surgery. I understand that we're all human, but not admitting a mistake and refusing to take ownership of it is inexcusable. When your ego becomes more important than the furry angels you profess to love, it's time to find another profession. I made a horrible mistake by not doing a Google search for this Dr before handing over my beloved Bianca to him. Once I did I was not surprised at all the negative things I found online about him and his clinic. I do learn from my mistakes, though. I Googled the new vet!