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BluePearl Veterinary Partners

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BluePearl Veterinary Partners / Malpractice

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My dog was referred here end of December 2011 by our regular vet, withe a diagnosis of a recurrence of thyroid cancer. She had successful surgery at another NYC animal hospital -with no complications- there years previously. A/c to check-up on the 22 Dec. blood work and x-rays showed her in excellent health otherwise, even as a 14-year old terrier.
1. Following a CT scan on 29th Dec. we met with surgeon (Greenberg) for brief consultation. A/c to him, malignant was "neatly encapsulated" and would be "cleanly removed". I learned later (discharge papers; CT summary) that lymphnode swelling/enlargement was noted and "suspect...metastatic origin". In other words, the cancer was beginning to spread. The tumor ("soft-tissue density mass") was also described as 'large'. It was in fact, much larger than the one removed 3 years previously. A/c to various vet medical sources I consulted (references available) on thyroid cancer in dogs, these two things (suspected spread and large size) should have precluded ANY surgery. An alternate form of care should have been considered/discussed. With the optimistic attitude of surgeon, BUT WITHOUT THE NECESSARY INFORMATION, I went forward. I believe the surgeon (who did not do the actual "reading" of the CT scan; I was billed for a "CT consultation") proceeded without knowing the complete results of the scan, which were in a file he opened for the first time as we spoke.
If I had been given all the facts, I would not have proceeded with the operation, which took place on 30 December.
2. Withen hours of the operation (described as "succcessful" in first reports I obtained later) surgeon reported to me serious complications. He suspected that another gland ( parathyroid) necessary for proper functioning of the thyroid (calcium absorbtion) had "been inadvertantly removed" (his words). This was described (discharge papers) as "ionized hypocalcemia [result of] iatrogenic hypothyroidism"; other words "INDUCED BY A PHYSICIAN IN A PATIENT" in this case, a grave error. Although I tried to learn as much about this as I could, I was never given more information about my dog's aftercare than "we're trying to get her CA levels up to normal (where they were a week before). They never got theere. SHE SPENT SIX DAYS AND FIVE NIGHTS IN THE ICU. I now know that chances for her survival were "less thean 50/50"; that a lifetime of monitering (bloodwork) and CA and vitamin D supplementation and constant vet visits would be necessary if she was to have any sort of the "quality of life" she had before the operation. I feel that with all the extra tests, meds etc. after the third day of her stay there was not much chance for her longterm survival.
During her stay in a cage in the ICU, she suffered a stroke with partial paralysis, constant anxiety and cardiac arrythemia, shortness of breath, inappetance, and partial blindness (she had only one eye to begin with). On her admission paper it says "If your pet's condition changes and requires additional tests and treatments not covered under the initial estimate, you will be contacted as soon as possible." I NEVER RECEIVED AN ESTIMATE BEFORE THIS ADDITIONAL ICU STAY BEGAN- I paid for one post-op night). The "plan of action" was never explained to me face-to-face (I visited once; no DVMs were present). My dog was on 13 different meds during her stay; one was sometheing called ProMace (for fear and anxiety) which I never would have agreed to.
3. My dog was discharged the evening of 5 January, not before I had a perfunctory "discussion" with the person who brought her up from the ICU and deposited her in the draughty, cold hallway, where she promptly fell over (her limbs were being affected already by the lack of calcium). I was presented with a statement for $12, 000, and made to sign an agreement that this would be paid promptly. I did this under extreme emotional duress and without a chance of speaking with my financial adviser.
The dog who returned to our home was a shadow of her former self. Instead of being honest with me (there was no discussion of her prognosis and long-term care) and the long list of "Problems" they gave me, I suspect BluePearl realized she was "hopeless" (I was told by a ICU tech the night before "we really need the cages"). Despite our both trying valiantly, all the meds and nutritional supplements, my around-the-clock nursing care, two trips to the vet, my dog's situation deteriorated (another stroke, about five seizures, no eating, weakness, a severe infection -staph a/c to an ICU- in her right front leg, continual coughing) due to lack of proper calcium absorbtion caused by thee hypoparathyroidism. Her systems began to fail and she was euthanized exactly one week later (12 January), and two weeks after she went into theeBluePearl facility a sprightly, active, fully alert and healthy dog.
4. On 5 March I addressed a carefully worded letter to the manager of the facility, with several questions concerning my dog's care, WHICH HAS NOT BEEN ANSWERED
My own physical and emotional health (I am a senior citizen with HIV disease) suffered greatly. More importantly, for two weeks my animal companion endured immense suffering because of what I firmly believe was inadequate veterinary care.

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Comments

  • Fo
      28th of Jun, 2012

    Follow-up: A letter containing copies of all the complaints I have made concerning my dog's case, inc. to NYState, was addressed in May to Neal Shaw, CEO of BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Tampa FL. It was not answered. The final unpaid portion of the cost my dog's "care" ($7600) has been turned over to a collection agency and my credit is ruined.

    +3 Votes
  • Ny
      22nd of Dec, 2012

    I am so sorry that you had to go through all of this. BluePearl is a money driven conglomerate masquerading as a "caring" animal ." They only care about the bottom line.

    +3 Votes
  • Su
      15th of Jan, 2013
    Best Best Advice

    You need to file a complaint with the New York veterinary board. Writing to the vet or the company does nothing. Only the state board has the authority to investigate and discipline a licensed vet. Go to the Veterinary Abuse Network site to find the contact info for all 50 US boards and start the complaint process.

    +4 Votes
  • Fo
      17th of Feb, 2013

    I have already done it. They have phoned me twice and are following through with it. When I was putting away Gaby's health files I noticed: 1) the op was supposed to be "removal of tumor on thyroid"; 2) the final 'statement' called it "thyroidectomy" -a different procedure entirely. 3) The expert witness I got to review the entire thing (so that I could understand what really happened in order to finally 'let it go') called it "surgical extirpation of thyroid" which caused "taking out of parathyroid". I believe she had very little (if any) chance of survival. The extra charges of the ICU care (during which she got STAPH INFECTION) were superfluous.

    +2 Votes
  • Bl
      4th of Mar, 2013

    I'm looking to file a complaint against BluePearl too. Where did you find an expert witness? Vets have a great gig since malpractice claims against them is limited so it is hard to find a vet to "turn on them." I have spoke to many vets about what happened to my pet at BluePearl and they say it was clearly wrong but when I say I'm planning on suing them, the vet gets eerily quiet! Any recommendation on experts would be greatly appreciated!!

    +1 Votes
  • Wh
      8th of Jan, 2018

    @BluePearl Malpractice I have an expert witness thru medical advisors in PA. You can google them. They are connecting me with the Vet a Penn State who is interested in doing legal work. My email is [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Ni
      19th of Mar, 2013

    Blue Pearl is more interested in telling you about the charges and payment plan than the health of your dog. Our small dog was attacked last night while walking on a leash were out of nowhere a pitbull came charging up behind him. Grabbed him by the neck and shook him like a rag doll until the owner came and got him under control. We went To Blue Pearl. The office visit was $95.00, I have no idea what that included because everything else was an itemized charge. It was an after thought for the Vet who at the end of the visit said she would clean our pup's wounds...Really? That was not included in the fee? She acted like she was doing us a favor. We told her we would go to our Vet during regular hours the next day, she seemed irratated. Then after telling us dogs can't take drugs for humans because they metabolize differently, she gave the pup a prescription for human pain medication. On the prescription pad it said "Do Not Fill" and the drug she prescribed was listed. They have no regard for the health of your animal, only how much you are willing to pay. They need to be shut down. Horrible, don't ever take your pet there. This is the Tampa Florida location.

    +2 Votes
  • Wi
      15th of Jun, 2013

    This place will rip you off, try to go somewhere else. I will write more later, but my kitten had surgery, Dr. Nicole Salas is amazing. However, if you take your pet for emergency they will perform unnecessary tests, try to keep them over night and take your money especially if they know you will do anything for your pet. I will send details too exhausted to type all now. But I'm two months behind on mortgage right now because of of a bill from here, as I would do anything for my baby. Again, Dr. Salas is incredible, can't say enough great things about her, but my personal vet called her for me and my baby was given extra good care. The surgery she did was successful on a very small kitten, it's a was truly a miracle. But if you have an emergency and try know you would go without food or paying your mortgage like I would for my pet they will take you to the cleaners. Again, Dr. Salas is the VERY BEST though! And Stephanie Kane as well

    +1 Votes
  • Re
      7th of Jun, 2014

    I am going through something similar in regards to the charges now with my dog, Czar, who has been treated for a spinal trauma. Fortunately I know the care he has received is necssary (he herniated a disc in his cervical spine) but they are now teling me I owe $400 more than what we agreed to for ICU charges, and his case has been handed off too many times to other doctors. I am trying to come up with the extra $650 I need right now to get him out of the hospital and get him home so I can file a complaint.

    They aren't getting another dime from me.

    +1 Votes
  • Le
      8th of Jun, 2014

    That's exactly what they did to me, my kitty was brought in during the day place on iv fluids for dehydration and the bill that I signed for was $600, I went to get him that early evening around 5 and they said he still needed the iv, so I went home and said I would return later. Went back at 7:30 sat with my kitty who seemed fine and asked to see the vet. The one on call was the one I didn't care much for but none the less, she said I could take him home but since it was 8:30 by this time, if he stayed the night they would give him his dose of antibiotics in the morning and it would only be $45 more to stay the night. I came back at 7am to pick him up and my bill was now $960!! I didn't sign for that, ever, you know they give you a high low when you bring them in, the high was $600. It's such a shame that they pray on animal lovers as I mentioned. My baby had many problems his first year, with uri and calcivirus, so needless to say anytime I see anything unusual I bring him in. There is an emergency vet right across the street from this Bluepearl location, so the next time he had an episode, I brought him there. Again, he was a little dehydrated, they didn't immediately put him on iv and charge me $600, they actually said they have a bag they could administer through his back and the charge is $45!! Bluepearl being "state of the art" should have this as well, but clearly they will not try to help with the most cost efficient methods. So sad because I have struggled financially since then and I am still trying to catch up. I'm grateful and happy to report my baby has grown out of most of his problems but I've spent a fortune because of their greediness.

    +1 Votes
  • Wi
      8th of Jun, 2014

    Yes, they will jerk you around. I took my baby in, as he had many problems his first year. Calcivirus, uri, etc. He seemed ill so I took him in, they had me sign the high low contract, the high being $600. They couldn't find anything except mild dehydration, and had him on it's for this and told me I needed to leave him there. I came back around 5 and they had been giving him antibiotics for a stomache flu or something of the sort. They said he would have another dose in a few hours. I went home, told them I'd be back to get him after the dose, and upon my return around 7pm, they said he needed one more dose in the morning and should spend the evening. I objected as I knew that was more money, the receptionist said I already paid for the extra day. I asked to speak with the physician on staff, she said I could take him but at this point it was only $45 more for the night. I went back in the morning and was presented with a bill of $960!!! I'm trying to fight it, haven't gotten anywhere. There is another ER vet right across the street from this location, so next time he had an episode, I brought him to this one. My mom had taken her dog here, I didn't realize it was there. Again, Zakk was a little dehydrated, but they said they had a pack they could put in his back and it was $45!!! If I had taken him to blue pearl, they would have put him on IV hydration, and charged $600 again. Why, as state of the art as the blue pearl facility is, would they not have this lower cost treatment?? They certainly try to bleed you dry as much as they can. It's so horrible as they know how us animal lovers will do anything for our pets, they will never give you the least cost effective option. I am still struggling with bills, although I'm happy to report Zakk has grown out of a lot of his problems. This is Tampa area, if he has any major problems again, I will take him to Gainesville, they will do an MRI, or any of the high tech diagnostic tests for around $150 depending on test. These are tests I have paid in excess of $500 for, . If there is any emergency vet in your area, please try them first.

    +2 Votes
  • Le
      12th of Dec, 2014

    Blue Pearl in Tampa has been handling the cancer in our family dog IMO quite poorly and it seems they are looking to make as much money as possible through it all. Due to divorce I moved away to take care of my mother and I took "my" dog and my ex move back into the house to be with our young adult daughter and "her" dog which he'd become attached to. Decisions were made by them in regards to treatment and I haven't personally spoken to the doctors there but I was very leary of them when they started radiation treatments (which I felt unnecessary and likely harmful) after surgery to remove a tumor under the skin and just after a few treatments their machine broke, then fixed, then broke again, then fixed and treatment finally completed. Surprise, surprise, afterwards the dog developed a tumor in the lung. It is common for the skin tumor to spread to the lungs and Blue Pearl said the dog should have a longer survival rate with the addition of radiation after surgical removal of the original skin tumor. $$$$??? There was also a uterine infection so bad after radiation treatment they had to perform a hysterectomy? My ex-husband just informed me that Blue Pearl is convinced that her lung cancer is not related to the skin tumor...the vet can't rule it out completely but the nature of her lung cancer is totally unlike what comes from the skin tumor so much so that the vet wanted to biopsy the lungs to figure it out. $$$$??? I can only assume that would have been another huge expense but knowing that radiation can cause cancers and their machine wasn't functioning properly yet they continued treatment, this "unusual cancer" may have been caused by faulty equipment and treatment if it wasn't caused by the original tumor. They had checked her lungs before and after surgery and they were fine, it wasn't until after the radiation treatments were finished (which took about 2 months instead of 6 weeks due to the problems with the radiation equipment) that this lung cancer showed up and it was growing very rapidly. I ordered a natural homeopathic treatment for cancer in dogs and it may be helping but my ex said he's so traumatized by the whole experience at Blue Pearl that he can't take the dog in there for an x-ray to check on the progression of the cancer to see if this homeopathic remedy is helping. I am in another part of the country now but had gone back down to say good-bye to our girl as she was declining rapidly a month ago and they thought if I waited another week it might be too late. They send me videos now and then and our dog is still able to play frisbee and run up and down the stairs and when I was there a month ago visiting I called out to my daughter to see the dog chasing her tail. My daughter said she hadn't seen her do that in months. My ex said he caught her chasing her tail in the yard recently too. At this point all I can do is pray that she is in remission due to the homeopathic treatment because after reading other peoples experiences with Blue Pearl I don't trust their care.

    I recently rescued a Great Pyrenees who became ill when I was down saying good-by to my daughter's dog. My friends took him to the local vet who misdiagnosed his condition, spoke down to me when he called to give me his diagnosis, and treated him for something else which caused him to die within 6 days. I took this dog to another vet for a necropsy to determine the cause of his death and it stated it was from cancer in one lung, tumor size 10cm x 14 cm. However, the vet was instead treating him for what he thought was an enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs. He only took one x-Ray which included a side view of the heart and the lung over the heart which he thought was the lung with the cancer. He couldn't actually see the heart due to the lung. I finally met with him today and questioned him about why certain diagnostic procedures were not performed before coming up with his diagnosis and course of treatment, like another x-Ray of the other lung instead of just the one over his heart and some blood work that could help show problems from congestive heart failure. He said that 98% of the people in the area couldn't afford the expense so he just never even suggested further testing. I wanted to yell at him to never judge a book by it's cover because my friends who took him in are indeed poor and probably looked a mess due to the concern and worry they were experiencing with the dog passing out 20 times (which were actually mild seizures brought on after this vet's office administered acepromalzine in too high of a dose for a giant breed dog) while I was gone and left him in their care.

    So here I am dealing with two dogs dying of lung cancer, one vet seemingly out to make the almighty dollar, and another vet so concerned about charging too much that he's neglectful. I have found what seems to be another vet who is thorough but not greedy in the area so my one dog I still have and any other dogs in the future should have good care. Lesson learned, do some research to find a good doctor before you are faced with an emergency situation and just go to anyone who will take care of the situation at the moment.

    -1 Votes
  • Tc
      10th of Mar, 2017

    At 10-years old our male our Airedale dog was diagnosed with cancer (canine oral malignant melanoma). Within 1 week after the diagnosis, surgery was performed by Specialized Veterinary Services in Fort Myers. The staff did a wonderful job and our Airedale recovered well after the surgery (note: I highly recommend them). Unfortunately, despite the best veterinary care, cancer vaccine, special nutritional supplements and diet the cancer recurred (new oral tumor) within 6 months. A second surgery was performed and our Airedale seemed to recover well. Within 3 months another oral tumor was visible...

    While searching the web I found a research paper written by a doctor at the world renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The bottom line of the report was that if this type of cancer recurs “the prognosis is particularly grave”. Further, the veterinarian at Specialized Veterinary Services explained that surgery is currently the “gold standard” of canine cancer care. For this reason they do not perform oncology / radiation therapy. At this point we believed there was no choice but to make our Airedale comfortable for as long as possible and then do what would need to be done...

    However, since all of the dog's vital signs and blood work were excellent we decided to see what a veterinary oncologist would recommend. our Airedale was examined by the oncology veterinarian at the oncology office of Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Tampa FL. Much to our surprise the oncology veterinarian gave us a glowing report and anecdotal stories about nearly miraculous cures that had occurred with other dogs. Our Airedale began treatments and immediately seemed to be worse. He was in much pain, so the oncology veterinarian prescribed pain medications. The pain got progressively worse after each subsequent “treatment”. All the while we were assured that the treatments were going well and that the cancer tumors were shrinking and in remission. After the last treatment, there was no followup scheduled.

    However, I insisted on speaking to the oncology veterinarian before leaving. After a long wait he met with me and our Airedale. I asked him point blank how he felt about our Airedale's prognosis. He told me that all had gone well, there were no concerns. The general impression I got was that our Airedale was doing very well and that the oncology veterinarian felt very good about the dog's prospect for life and health. However, almost immediately after this glowing report a large tumor was visible and within week of the last treatment our Airedale was dead.

    Needless, to say my wife and I believe we were taken advantage of and lied to. We and our dog had suffered needlessly and at a high emotional and financial cost. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Blue Pearl led us to believe that there was a very high likelihood of cancer remission and extended dog life. This was apparently untrue. We can't help but feel that this was all about making money off people in a vulnerable emotional state without regard for human or animal involved! You love your pet. So most likely you hope, wish and pray that there will be a cure. Yet the emotional pain that you and your pet will endure must be balanced against the likelihood of a good outcome. Perhaps it is asking too much to expect impartial advise from someone who could financially benefit by their answer. Beware and do your homework! Then, take a deep breath and do the right thing for you and your pet.

    +1 Votes
  • St
      17th of Jul, 2018

    Thank you to everyone above who has shared their stories. You have no idea how valuable this information is to others, thank you very much.

    0 Votes

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