South Putnam Animal HospitalMalpractice and Negligent treatment of Diabetic Animal

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Kirby is an 18 year old neutered orange and white male cat who was diagnosed, by South Putnam Animal Hospital, with diabetes approx 1 & 1/2 years ago. He was brought to South Putnam Animal Hospital September 13, 2011, because he had been vomiting and not eaten for 2 days. During the office visit, Kirby's BG numbers and insulin dosages were discussed with Dr. Maria Kaprielian but, were not noted in his chart. :
Dr. Kaprielian proceeded to take a blood sample and also and suggested an ultrasound which was scheduled for the following day, September 14, 2011. After an injection of 10 mg Cerenia for nausea, I was instructed by Dr. Kaprielian to take Kirby home and provide him dinner. No instructions were given in regard to Kirby’s dosage of insulin. Kirby was fed dinner at 6:00 pm, he ate approximately 3 ounce of food which he vomited 1 hour later. His last drink of water was at 10:30 pm. We were instructed to drop Kirby off at 10:30 am, the ultrasound technician would be in at 11:00am. We were told to expect a call when the test was completed. I spoke with Dr. Judith Mason, before Kirby's ultrasound was performed, by Dr. Pawlusiow again reviewing BG numbers and insulin dosages this call & discussion was not noted in his chart. Kirby’s ultrasound was performed at 11:58 pm we were not contacted to pickup him up until 5:30 pm. Kirby appeared lethargic but that he assumed they had administered something to calm him during the procedure. The staff provided no information regarding his care during the day or his current state. When I arrived home at 7:00 pm Kirby was on the floor rigid, unconscious and havening seizures. We rushed him to Katonah Bedford Emergency hospital where, upon arrival, Kirby was having Grand Mal seizures and had stopped breathing. The hospital staff rushed him into the ICU unit; he was intubated, given glucose and treated in intensive care for 2 days Upon arrival at Katonah Bedford Emergency, Kirby’s BG was tested it was so low it did not register on a BG meter. While at Katonah Bedford, I contacted Dr. Mason at 8:10pm though her answering service. Dr. Mason claimed no knowledge of Kirby's diabetes even though he was diagnosed by South Putnam Animal Hospital and that diagnosis is in his hospital record. After the incident, in the am of 9/15, I again contacted South Putnam Animal Hospital and spoke to Dr. Heiber, owner of the practice. She admitted Kirby was not provided food or water he did not have anything to eat or drink while he was in their care. Since Kirby had been both food and water restricted prior to the ultrasound as instructed, this 18 year, diabetic, ailing cat had no water for 24 hours, no food for 3 days. Rather, it appears that he remained in a cage unmonitored by South Putnam staff until we were called to pick him up at 5:30pm. In addition, we were charged for 1/2 day hospitalization even though it is unclear what care was provided during this time. After my request for Kirby’s records, many entries were made after the incident. These entries were made after the original entries. These statements are untrue and in my opinion were made to absolve any responsibly by South Putnam Animal Hospital.
Kirby has been going to this vet his entire life, they certainly were well aware he was diabetic since they diagnosed the illness. Failure to provide any animal food and water after a procedure requiring food and water restriction is negligence. Failing to provide an elderly, sick and diabetic cat is malpractice. I feel the treatment Kirby received at South Putnam and in Dr. Mason's care was mismanaged, negligent, indifferent and cruel.


  • De
    Decky69 Jul 09, 2013

    My dog had two growths on his chin when I brought him into SPAH. Samples were taken of the growths to be analyzed, the results were inconclusive.The surgery to remove the growths were estimated to cost about $1200.00. I decided to wait, in the mean time my other dog routinely licked the growths until they fell off. The growths have not returned, this makes me wonder if SPAH was making a $200.00 visit into a $1200.00 operation

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  • Re
    restle Oct 13, 2011

    I happen to be married to Dr. Mason. This may well be the most traumatic case in my wife's >25 years as a practicing veterinarian. Not because of any mistake my wife allegedly made, but because of the client's harassment. I am obviously biased, but so is the complaint above. And I do know much of the above description is extremely one-sided or just false. I don't believe the client above truly means to hurt my wife, but she is so angry that she has completely lost objectivity. Certainly mistakes were made in this case, which fortunately did not result in permanent problems for this cat, nor huge medical bills. I would very surprised if the client pays for this care, but the hospital owners do not see any reason to admit any guilt by waving the fees. In my perhaps biased opinion, the biggest mistake might well have been made by the owner herself. I'm have no professional medical knowledge, but I unfortunately know lot about this case, since my wife had to talk with this client and all the other doctors from home, on her own time, and was often verbally abused and accused of a variety of crimes by the complainant. What is not mentioned above is that often it was the client's husband who talked with the doctors, chose when to pick up the cat, etc., and that perhaps was part of the confusion. The client apparently secretly recorded some conversations, which she has threatened the practice with, which could certainly clarify some things, but these recordings have not been made available. The client asked for and recieve copies of the full medical record.

    Anybody who has had a significant procedure knows that it is dangerous to have food in the stomach when sedatives or anasthesia is used, due to the danger of throwing up when sedated, and basically drowning. The main "mistake" was that the owner gave insulin to a cat that was supposed to be off insulin and food due to the upcoming procedure. Hopefully the client or her husband was told not to give insulin that morning, but in any case my wife had nothing to do with that. I really have no idea why this mistake happened, but it seems possible, for example, that the husband recieved instructions that somehow did not get to her wife in time.

    I can actually testify to one mistake above. I was in the kitchen in the evening at 8:10 when my wife heard that Kirby had been given insulin before being brought to the hospital. The relevant quote above is

    "I contacted Dr. Mason at 8:10pm though her answering service. Dr. Mason claimed no knowledge of Kirby's diabetes".

    In fact I can swear my wife was immediately horrified the instant she heard that insulin had been given by the owner, since this was obviously a mistake, and since she knew very well that Kriby was diabetic. The idea she denied any knowledge of Kriby's diabetes is just not true. I was there, having any chance of a pleasant evening ruined, and I heard every word. I certainly hope that this is one of the phone calls that was secretly recorded by the client. In fact my wife later even discussed with me that the client should have known better, since she has more than one diabetic cat.

    There are very extensive records of many discussions between the complaining client and all the doctors above. Hopefully all changes are logged and tracked by the very expensive veterinary software, but I don't really know. In fact my the hospital owners have told my wife they were quite impressed with the detailed quality of the medical records my wife wrote up in this case.

    I am certainly sorry that Kriby had a rough time. I can understand how the owner became convinced that somebody must be to blame. For better or worse, especially since the cat recovered, there is little reason for a lawsuit. After a lot of soul-searching, my wife actually decided that she in fact did nothing wrong at all in this particular case. You have no reason to believe me, but the fact is my wife never gives herself a break, and is always first to blame herself. The fact is that diabetes is a serious disease. I have a relative who fell into a coma for days from taking their insulin and not eating quite fast enough afterwards.

    I'm firmly behind freedom of speech, but in this case it seems to be doing a lot more harm than good. Perhaps Kirby's owner feels better, but a number of other people are being hurt, including myself.

    Feel free to research this practice or this doctor. Veterinary school has always been more difficult to get into than medical school, and is no where near as lucrative. My wife works primarily because she is proud to be a very good veterinarian in a very good hospital. This unique complaint is jeopardizing her desire to practice.

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  • Fr
    Fran145 Oct 10, 2011

    The people at S. Putnam are incompetent, they "lost" a biopsy sample of a suspected cancerous growth on my dog. Months later things got worse, wrong diagnoses over and over again at S. Putnam and then they send us to Bedford, another bunch of cloudless imbeciles over there. Eventually the dog had to be put to sleep. What does it take to find competent vets? They all seem to be weird bran damaged people I'd expect to find in the red states of the US.

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