In memory and honor of one very special cat.. how Edward J. Nichols, DVM, Crestway Animal Clinic, San Antonio, Texas, treated Suki. Read Suki's Story.

For details on the lawsuit that this QUACK Ed Nichols, Crestway Animal Clinic, filed on me in an attempt to silence me from telling what happened to Suki at Crestway Animal Clinic,  see the timeline




New Year's Eve, December 31, 2008 

New Year's Eve. Ten years ago tonight, it was the beginning of the end for Suki, but I had no way of knowing that the worst nightmare of our lives was just around the corner.

On this night ten years ago, I was getting ready for a party, and Suki jumped in my lap and looked me right in the face. I looked at one of her bottom teeth, and it looked like there was a problem. I cancelled my plans, got her to the ER, and sure enough, it was an abscessed tooth. As they treated her, I couldn't help wondering how that little detail had been missed by Ed Nichols at Crestway Animal Clinic, since we had just seen him on December 5. That night at the ER, I seriously considered changing vets, and I wish with all my heart that I had. Of course if I had seen his chart at that time, I would have known what incredibly lousy records he kept on Suki -- on December 5 and at every one of the times we saw him before or after. Those sloppy, shabby, careless, incomplete and inaccurate records would have told the tale of what a crappy vet this guy was.  But on New Year's Eve, 1998, all I could think about was getting Suki help. She was seen by an ER vet who did a thorough examination of her, prescribed her an antibiotic, and here is the record of her ER visit. The ER faxed that report to Ed Nichols at Crestway Animal Clinic so that when we went in on January 5 for a follow-up visit, he would have it. 

Of course, Nichols would later claim he never got it. That's right - afterwards, when the full horror of the next four months was over and Suki was dead, I filed the complaint on Nichols and the investigation was opened on this creep, Nichols denied to the investigators in the informal conference in Austin ever receiving that fax, even though I had gotten confirmation from the ER that it had been sent. Interestingly enough, Nichols also denied ever receiving the list of symptoms I left with his mother the morning of April 19, when I took Suki into Crestway Animal Clinic after she collapsed and he ended up putting her under anesthesia (halothane and nitrous oxide) and performing a DENTAL SURGERY on that day without authorization for those procedures or even informing me of what he was about to do. Neither of those documents -- one confirmed by the ER that it had been sent to him, and one that I personally handed to his mother -- was in Suki's patient file. 

Don't you think that it is an amazing coincidence that TWO very important documents that contained notations of vital symptoms that Suki was experiencing, Nichols claimed he never received? Here's something even more interesting: If you look again at Suki's patient chart, you will also notice a consistent OMISSION OF SYMPTOMS on her patient chart for the entire time Nichols saw her (13 times in 34 months). My poor Suki - apparently her symptoms weren't even worth recording on her chart, and the two documents that DID record them, well, Nichols claimed he never got them.  They certainly were not contained in her patient file - Did Nichols lose them? Did he never receive them? Or did something else happen to them? 

There isn't a New Year's Eve in the past ten years where I haven't wished, with every fiber of my being, that I had gotten Suki to another vet to evaluate what was really going on with her. I go over and over that night, wishing to God that I had gotten Suki away from Ed Nichols and Crestway Animal Clinic once and for all.  Unfortunately, I made the huge mistake of trusting him after that visit, and I made the even bigger mistake of not getting a copy of her patient record at that time that would have told me that his horribly deficient records on her were all I needed to know. The consistent absence of symptom notation, no diagnoses of CRF and other conditions she had, omission of prescription drugs and dosages, incorrect dates, to name but a few  -- ALL, by the way, violations of the Board's recordkeeping statute and which Nichols also got away with in Austin  -- would have told me EVERYTHING about the creep Nichols. 

With the start of every New Year, I renew my commitment to making sure that NO ANIMAL ever has to go through what Suki went through, and to do everything I can to make sure that the Texas Vet Board actually ENFORCES its statutes to hold these vets accountable for provable violations of board statutes and provable breaches in the standard of care. No matter how much they try to look the other way, no matter how much these vets' lawyers and insurance companies do all they can to get their sorry-ass clients off the hook,  there will always be somebody watching their actions and holding them responsible and most importantly of all - REPORTING these inexcusable actions TO THE PUBLIC so that other animal guardians can make INFORMED CHOICES as to who they want treating their pets. 

With every new year I tell Suki how sorry I am for trusting a creep I NEVER should have trusted. And every new year I have but one wish -- that I had NEVER heard the name Ed Nichols, and that we had NEVER set foot in Crestway Animal Clinic. If I could go back knowing what I know now about so MANY things that happened during that time, I wouldn't let Ed Nichols within 100 miles of Suki. 

I will never forget, and I will never be silenced. 

May you all have a safe and peaceful New Year, and keep your furry and feathered companions safe.  

--Julie Catalano

Christmas Eve, December 24, 2008




Suki's Tree

Ten years ago tonight, Suki and I had our last Christmas Eve together. But of course we had no way of knowing that. We thought everything was "fine" because that's what I was being told. So for us it was Christmas as usual, with no way of knowing the darkness that was ahead. Christmas was our time of light and happiness. It was always our special time. Suki loved Christmas. All the wrapping paper to jump in and tear, tasty treats. music, snuggling, and a giant tree with nothing but cat toys on it. At least that's how she saw it. And of course, presents under the tree from family and friends and me. She loved watching the lights, watching me wrap packages, just basically watching everything. It was such a magical time for us. Now It all seems like another life, like a dream. Right before the dream turned into a nightmare. 

I stopped putting up a tree after Suki's death. It was unthinkable, knowing that the last time I saw it was when I had a life that is now gone forever, one in which I trusted a repugnant individual that I never should have trusted. Christmas 1998 was truly the last innocent time Suki and I had. We were so happy, our lives together were wonderful. Never in a million years could I have foreseen the horror that was in store for her and for me.  I will never understand why this had to happen to us. We never did a thing to deserve any of it, and when I think of what Suki went through, it is beyond agonizing. 

Suki's tree remains in its box. I wonder if I will ever put it up again. Sometimes I think she would like it, but sometimes I think the pain would be unbearable. Just the thought of it brings me to fresh tears, on top of the millions I have shed for her and for what she endured.  When I think of that long-ago Christmas Eve, I fantasize about being granted one wish, and I know what it would be -- that I could go back in time, to be given that gift so that I could get Suki out of harm's way, and that what was done to her would have never happened. Every Christmas Eve since our last one together I tell her she can have Christmas every day now, and that she is safe, and that nothing can ever hurt her again. And like I do every day, I tell her how sorry I am for trusting someone that was in no way deserving of our trust. And maybe someday, I will put up her tree again. 

--Julie Catalano