Boiling blood transfusions (another rant on severe client misbehavior)
Remember Dingleberry? He’s the cat who arrived crawling with so many fleas that his clumps of matted fur appeared to move with singular purpose: Get us off this animal, they might have said. He’s almost dead anyway.
I minced my words in my last post in deference to the owner’s ignorance (as opposed to what others labeled outright neglect). This post, however, is a no-holds-barred indictment of the client’s behavior. Why? Two reasons:
1. Dingleberry came back for his recheck last week loaded with a fresh batch of fleas. The owner was again, unaware of the problem and oblivious to the obvious solution I had recommended. For the record, she only came back because she wanted the cat’s unsightly mats shaved off—not to recheck his anemia.
2. This week she had the gall to call her credit card to dispute $300 in blood transfusion charges. She claims I did not secure her permission before embarking on this life saving procedure.
Dingle would have been dead but for his blood transfusion. I’d spoken to his two owners that day (by telephone) about the need for a blood transfusion and its expense. Neither denied that I should undertake such a procedure in light of its clear necessity. Without it he would have been stone cold dead within 24 hours—no doubt about it considering his severe depletion of red blood cells due to the active blood-sucking of his hundreds of fleas.
As usual, I documented the owner’s approval of all procedures. Yet none of that means anything to the credit card company. They’re there to protect their precious cardholder from evil vets like me who seek to indiscriminately appropriate their clients’ funds.
The day I saved Dingleberry’s life I went out of my way to drive to the specialists’ hospital and pick up the necessary unit of blood myself. I stayed late to make sure Dingle had no reaction to his transfusion. I nursed him back to health over the next couple of days.
But the owner claims she was happy to pay for all of his care—minus the transfusion. She swears that under no circumstances would she have paid an extra $300 to save her cat’s life.
When I got on the phone with her earlier this week I was all sugar—though my blood was boiling. She pleaded her case with the indignation of someone who had been taken advantage of by an unethical merchant. What could I do? I couldn’t lose it on the phone with her. My only recourse was to describe my feelings at being told my care was unwanted and unworthy of compensation.
The receptionists who overheard the conversation were aghast: Why didn’t you tell her you were going to call Animal Control for animal neglect if she didn’t pay? Why didn’t you threaten to sue her for theft of services?
I could have done all that—and more. Instead, I’ll just refuse to see her next time. I’ll have her sit in the waiting room for half an hour. I’ll wait until the room is packed with clients. Then I’ll come out and explain that we will not be seeing her today or ever due to our inability to provide the kind of service her cat needs.
I’ll miss Dingle, though. Who knows? I might just suck it up and care for Dingle to the end—just because all other alternatives in this case seem so inadequate. And because the sins of the mother should not be suffered by her children, feline though they may be.