Saturday, April 14, 2012

Anger.

Apologies for the long delay, readers.  This blog is a work of passion for me, so when I'm not inspired to write a post, I can't force it.  I've been outrageously busy at work, and taking care of lots of duties outside of work. Forgive me for the absence  - I try to only write when I have something to say!


This last few days has brought me many clients who are just downright angry. I actually wish I understood human psychology a bit better in order to understand this phenomenon.  Clients angry, even  furious at me and my staff for things we couldn't possibly be responsible for - but yet, they perceive us as the bad guys.

Example #1 -

A woman brought her cat to me who had been a cat fight the day prior.  He was painful over his left side, and on initial exam, I shaved some hair and found puncture wounds as well as swelling over his belly.  The wounds were in a precarious location, and possibly penetrating the abdomen, causing an abdominal hernia.  I gave the kitty pain relief medications, and spoke to the client.

I recommended radiographs to evaluate for possible body wall damage from the bite, and to look for entrapped bowel or dangerous fluid within the belly, as a result of the bite.  These conditions could be quickly fatal if not addressed immediately.

"YOU PEOPLE!!.......!!" The client screeched. "I CAN'T PAY FOR THIS!"
I tried to calmly explain to the client that we did offer a payment plan in the form of CareCredit, a third party credit system which allows interest -free payment periods, and can provide instant approval for credit.

"YOUR PRICE FOR X-RAYS IS TOO HIGH! HOW DARE YOU CHARGE THAT MUCH!"

Again, I tried to calmly explain to the client that our prices are set by our fixed costs, costs of the machinery, repair costs, maintenance, etc and that I understand her dilemma, however I cannot change the prices.  I asked her if she wanted to apply for care credit- she replied, "I DON'T CARE."

Finally, we convinced her to fill out the paperwork and, alas, she was approve for credit (and thus, a payment plan through CareCredit) and her kitty was well taken care of.  She suddenly acted polite and friendly.

Example #2
Clients found a stray, sick looking Shepard cross dog on the side of the road in their small town.  They called us and described that the pet was sickly and appeared to be dying.  We offered for them to bring it in, and we would evaluate it on a stray - pet basis, and they would have no financial responsibility.

 (This is a LUXURY - almost every other clinic in our area refuses to provide any similar service.  We provide this at no charge to the public to prevent animal suffering, because we really do care.  When the found pets are un-injured, we send them to the shelter to be found by their owners, and when they are minimally injured, we provide emergency care.  When they are critically injured, and no owner can be found (no collar, no chip, etc), then unfortunately some times, we do have to provide euthanasia to prevent suffering. All pets who are brought in and treated through this program are signed over to the hospital until their true families come forward; if none is found, we then transfer them to the local shelter for adoption.  We cannot return them to the finders directly due to legal concerns and the importance of giving the true family a chance to find their pet.)

The clients brought us the found Shepard cross, and he was emaciated.  His skin was jaundice, and he appeared to be truly near death. He appeared to have a fluid filled, distended abdomen. Due to his extremely ill nature, euthanasia was provided to prevent suffering.  This was the right decision for this poor, neglected dog who had clearly suffered too much already.

Hours later, a friend of the finders of the dog called and requested information on adoption.  We told them that unfortunately, the found pet was not adoptable, and we thanked them for taking the time to bring the poor guy in and prevent suffering.

The caller became LIVID.  Screaming profanities at my technician, yelling that we don't care about animals, and demanding to speak with the owner of the business.  She went on for several minutes before my tech could no longer handle the verbal abuse and was forced to end the phone call.

Why so angry at us? We provided relief of suffering, at no cost, to an stray animal who was clearly in a critical condition.  I can only guess that the "Finders" were truly the owners of the "stray" dog, and thought that we would provide care for free, and that they could pick up their dog under the guise of adoption.

 It's people who abuse the system like this that ruin it for everyone else!  WE are here to do the right thing for the PET, and unfortunately, some clients will never understand what we really go through to help pets 24/7.

3 comments:

  1. Hi doc! Example #1 is a big problem - clients who enter the hospital ALREADY EXPECTING TO YELL about prices, because for some reason, they've gotten used to the idea that veterinarians hold sick pets ransom and squeeze money out of innocent people at their most vulnerable moment.

    I think veterinarians oughtta do something to change that perception, but be darned if I know what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some guy kept bringing in "good samaritan" puppies to the emergency clinic I worked at, taking advantage of the fact that our clinic would take in sick/hurt animals after the shelter was closed for the night(so he wouldn't have to pay the 30 dollar drop off fee), and we would stabilize/treat animal for the night. The issue was that he said he "found" the puppies... except they were actually his, and they all had horrible parvo and didn't want to pay for them. For the third puppy he brought in(3 days after last), the vet that night said we couldn't take it and told me to tell the man to leave if he didn't want to pay for HIS puppy's treatment(I was working as an assistant during undergrad). However, the guy told me he was going to set the puppy down on speedway if we didn't take it so I could watch it get run over(speedway= busy street outside clinic). I wanted to punch him in the face... but we ended up taking the puppy. sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Situation #2 is just sad. Glad to hear the dogs suffering was ended. If only the 'finder' could be prevented from having any other pets.

    ReplyDelete