One Tech's Story

 

"Publish this or not, its up to you. Maybe another technician will read it and gain strength enough to walk away as I did. Maybe they will have less to lose and actually file a suit against the offender. I need to do alot of soul searching to figure out what I am going to do. Until then, I am taking things one day at a time. -- Veterinary Technician  

Hello. I found your site while looking for information on how to report my previous employer's abuse toward clients' pets. I can't name [the vet] since I haven't chosen a path to pursue yet but this story is one that will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life.  

I quit working for [the vet] on [date]. I have been a veterinary technician for more than 15 years. [The vet] hired me to be clinic manager on [date]. We worked together when [the vet] was first out of vet school and I knew that [the vet] was volatile and verbally abusive but I thought age, experience, and owning [a] practice would have tamed [the vet] down. I was sadly mistaken  

Shortly after accepting a job with the practice, I walked into the treatment area where [the vet] was working on a fractious gray cat. The cat was wearing an e-collar and being restrained by a technician. When [the vet] tried to medicate the cat, it tried to bite [the vet]. [The vet] hit the cat hard in the face and then spit in its face.  

In [date], [the vet] was asked to look at the ears of a Lhasa Apso that was being groomed. The dog's ears were sensitive and painful so it tried to bite when examined. [The vet] began pummeling the dog's head and neck with [the] fists and because it wouldn't comply to [the vet's] acts of violence, [the vet] became even more angered. The dog defacated everywhere and [the vet] body slammed it down onto the treatment table while screaming like a wild[person]. Once the dog submissed, it tried one more time to bite [the vet] and thats when [the vet] jerked the dog off the table by the leash and let it flop onto the concrete floor from 4' above. [The vet] complained that the dog was an idiot, refused to treat it, and stated that [the vet's] hands hurt. [The vet] walked away.

On [date] a technician quit after [the vet] physically beat up a blocked cat by hitting it on the head and body with [the] fists, and apparently twisted the ear flaps very hard. I did not witness the event but was blamed for it because I was not there "to prevent it" from happening. Two days later I was trying to sedate and prep a cat that had come in blocked. I noticed that the frontal section of the head and the ear flaps were badly bruised. When I asked the technician assisting me about it, she stated that this was the same cat that [the vet] had beaten 2 days before. I was sickened.

On [Date here], the employees called me at home upset that [the vet] had kicked a dog in an exam room behind closed doors. [The vet] stated that it tried to bite [the vet].

I haven't worked there for [date] but I continue to have nightmares about these events. I think my subconscious is working overtime because my reasons for staying were to try and prevent it from happening to another animal. As long as I was there, I could intervene and stop things before someone's pet was permanently injured or killed. Maybe I could have, maybe not. But what do I do now?

An employee of [the vet] called me the other day to let me know that she quit because when a boarding pet was being examined, it tried to bite her and [the vet] started hitting it. When it defacated, [the vet] smeared the feces all over the dog's face and supposedly told everyone that if it was washed off, they would be fired.

My heart is heavy and I am sickened to know that alot of the wonderful clients [the vet] has are oblivious to the behind the scenes action that takes place. [The vet] is disgustingly abusive with the staff and feels superior to everyone. That I referred to [the vet] as my friend for so long makes me sick. I am trying to start over again and I hope that the nightmares will soon stop. I am thankful that I am no longer affiliated with this type of person!

Publish this or not, its up to you. Maybe another technician will read it and gain strength enough to walk away as I did. Maybe they will have less to lose and actually file a suit against the offender. I need to do alot of soul searching to figure out what I am going to do. Until then, I am taking things one day at a time.

--Veterinary technician

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The above letter was sent unsolicited and has been verified. In addition, the tech informed me that other technicians quit this same practice shortly after these incidents took place. Names, locations, dates, and any identifying factors have been put in brackets to protect the tech who sent it. When I received it, I found it so disturbing that I felt I needed to obtain a veterinarian's take on it. I forwarded it to a trusted veterinarian who commented below:

"The behavior pattern of this DVM as described here is unacceptable by any standards. In human medicine the nurse takes an oath that their first responsibility is to be the advocate for the patient. Many nurses will intervene in the case of an abusive doctor. I only wish all veterinary employees were aware that they have this duty as well. Too often they think this is normal or that it happens everywhere. In my clinic I have fired DVMs on the first incident. I can tell you my RVTs and other lay personnel would not stand for it. The [Name of State Board] should by all means be notified. [Name of VMA group] has a peer assistance network, to encourage DVMs like this to seek psychological counseling. I feel great compassion for the animals that are being abused. I also feel compassion for the DVM as I know owning and running a practice can be very stressful and I imagine [the vet] is living in a sort of hell and deserves some medical help. If I can be of further help please let me know." -- Veterinarian

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