Banfield, The Pet Hospital of Superior, CO — banfield almost killed my cat, then wouldn't pay for associated medical bills
I was a client of Banfield, the Pet Hospital of Superior in Colorado. The primary vet’s name is Dr. Ken Katz, another vet on the roster is Shelley Raines. There are other vets on staff that are not listed in the directory. Both of my cats were on a Wellness Plan, and they have been for nearly 9 years. I was a loyal customer of Banfield for over 10 years.
On December 23, 2010 I took my cats in for dental prophylaxis. This requires that the cat be intubated and anesthetized. I brought my cats home. One seemed normal and the other, Rahmi, hid under the bed. I contacted Banfield the next day and they said this was normal. I then went on Christmas vacation out of state. I was never given any literature on warning signs to look for following a prophylaxis. On December 26, my cat sitter arrived. She never reported anything out of the ordinary, but again, we didn't know what to look for and she has visual memory issues from a brain injury.
When I returned home on January 3, 2011 I walked in my door to see that Rahmi appeared to be blown up like a balloon. I wondered how much my sitter fed him. I knelt down and poked at him - it seemed to be air. I didn’t understand what was going on and I called the emergency vet. They asked if he had any recent surgeries and I said he had a dental. They said to bring him in. Immediately they suspected that his trachea had been torn during the dental. They took xrays and air had lifted his skin about 4 inches from the rest of his body. He had collapsed lungs and his heart was lifted from his chest wall by several inches and all of his organs had shifted around, which made the situation critical.
The next morning, the surgical team confirmed this and determined that he must have a necrotic tear in his trachea that required surgery. I agreed to the scope and surgery. During the scope, they found nothing. They told my vet at Banfield in Superior, CO what had happened.
Shortly after they relayed the information to Banfield, the vet who performed the dental called me and acted all concerned. She then stated, “Obviously it wasn’t due to the dental because it didn't present immediately, and tears always present immediately. Shucks, if it was due to us, we’d definitely contribute to the costs.” She then tried to get me to say it wasn’t their fault. Even though they couldn't find a tear, my cat was still gravely ill and could die at any time.
I filed a complaint with Banfield and two days later Dr. Katz had one of his assistants call and say it wasn’t their fault, they're not refunding the dental expenses, releasing me from the plans or reimbursing me any of the $2000 costs. They consider the matter closed.
I then complained to the corporate head quarters. They said I could "escalate" it and put my plan on hold while it was researched. I agreed to having my plan put on hold. But, two weeks later I got a call from Banfield telling me that my account was delinquent and if I didn't make payments, I would be sent to collections. As it turns out, there is no such thing as "putting an account on hold." She just stopped the auto payments and didn't tell me I'd be sent to collections if I kept it current.
So far, trying to resolve the dispute in the least costly way isn't working. I have been posting to the corporate facebook wall and posting complaints where I can. I am pretty sure I'll have to escalate it and take legal action. I'm starting a blog to keep track of my actions. Going after vets for malpractice is daunting, to say the least.