Thursday, July 28, 2011

Little man syndrome

Last night, a couple arrived with their cat.  Unfortunately, they had run over their 2 year old cat.  The kitty was severely injured, and had no ability to move or feel his hind legs.  He was paralyzed, among other injuries, and there was no way we could fix him.

The clients had zero dollars to contribute to care, which actually didn't change the outcome for their poor little kitty as there was no way we could fix him.

The client acted like a fool.  He walked in with his chest puffed up as if he was a cartoon character, and his shoulders back, storming around our lobby.  He screamed at the receptionist, and made irrational requests.  We triaged the cat, discovered the extent of injuries, and I discussed the sad news with him.  I hoped the exam findings would give them some small amount of relief, at least to know that it wasn't a financial decision.

 "GIVE MY CAT THE F***** INJECTION ALREADY!" the man screamed as he stormed around our treatment room, threatening both me and my staff.  "F***** DO IT ALREADY!"

The man acted as if he was on a 'roid rage.  I stated over and over how sad I was for his loss, and how sorry I was that he was losing his kitty.  I asked him to step away so I could give an intraperitoneal injection, as there was no possible way to hit a vein on his shocky, dying, painful cat (IP injections are non painful, but take about 5-10 minutes for effect and are used in patients like this, when venepuncture is not possible).  He screamed at me again, and finally, I had to raise my voice.  I told him that he needed to calm down, and leave the room, or I would call the police.  He finally stepped away.  I didn't trust this man to be around a needle and controlled medications, and I had to trust my instincts.  I also didn't trust him not to flip out as I gave the injection.

After I gave the injection, I asked him if he wished to come back to be with his kitty.  He continued to scream obscenities, and act as if he wanted to pick a fight.

"I don't understand why you are upset with us," I told him. "We're just trying to help relieve your kitty's suffering.  He has a non-repairable condition, and there's no way for him to ever walk again.  I'm sorry he got hit, and I know this must be hard.  You have to realize that we're here to help you and your cat."

"I'm F***** PISSED!!! I AM SO ANGRY!" He screamed, over and over again.  I re-stated the above.

His kitty passed peacefully, and I stayed with him the entire time, as much as I hated the way he was treating us.

Finally after his cat passed away, he apologized briefly for his attitude, and quickly said that he was just mad at the situation.

Mad at the situation doesn't give you the justification to act like a fool and threaten our staff.  What a moron.


  1. wow.. can't imagine how you can take that. At what point do you call the police?

  2. I would have called pretty soon after the above, if he hadn't settled down or had put his hands on ANY of my staff. He was trying to be tough, but he didn't scare us - Napoleon syndrome. :)