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Have you ever experienced veterinary misconduct or negligence such as misdiagnosis, injury, or incorrect treatment due to incompetence, negligence, or incorrect judgment? If so, how did you deal with it?
There are many ways to deal with such a negative experience. It is most effective to act like a consumer and file a complaint against a veterinarian. How do you ensure that your complaint is properly filed? This article will shed some light and explain the steps you need to take before filing a complaint with the veterinarian.
According to the Animal Hospitals and Veterinary Clinics: Global Market Insights 2015-2030 study on GlobeNewswire.com, pet owners spend approximately $ 17 billion annually on veterinary care in hospitals, clinics, and groceries. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, that number has increased even further.
Given the huge annual spending, veterinary services are in great demand in the United States. Demand creates supply. There are more than 107,000 veterinarians in the United States, according to statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
But not all vets are really good. Based on over 4.6K reviews about veterinary clinics and veterinary medicine PissedConsumer.comThe treatments and services offered raise concerns for many pet owners, from financial problems to poisoning. Therefore, if you believe there has been veterinary misconduct, it is wise to report a veterinarian and warn other pet owners.
First of all, you should make sure that your particular situation with a veterinarian is appropriate complaint, and only then should you go and report your problem through their services.
Where to file complaints against veterinarians
State veterinary associations
Some state veterinary associations have peer-reviewed bodies that are responsible for resolving a number of problems. However, their role varies depending on the state. Contact your state veterinarian med association to review this information. If it is feasible, you can report any veterinary misconduct or negligence there.
Such veterinary associations act as advocates for the veterinary profession. They protect and evaluate the quality of veterinary care and treatment. State veterinary associations enact regulations to enforce laws regulating veterinary practice in the United States. You could take disciplinary action against those who violate these laws. So, think about this first if you face a dispute with a veterinary clinic.
State Veterinary Licensing Authority
Licensing Boards are member bodies of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. You are fully responsible for establishing procedures to identify and, where appropriate, sanction and remove unethical and incompetent veterinarians. Their job is to protect the well-being of the citizens in their jurisdiction.
To be honest, the regulatory agencies are the only agency that has jurisdiction over the approval of a veterinarian in the United States of America. If your visit to a veterinary clinic has had serious consequences due to unprofessional treatment, you can submit your veterinarian complaint to the State Veterinary Licensing Board for review.
All veterinarians practicing in the United States must have a valid license. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards provides a list of jurisdictions from which to review a license. In addition to veterinary malpractice cases, admissions agencies accept complaints about unlicensed individuals practicing veterinary medicine. If you want to report veterinary misconduct, start with that American Association of Veterinary State Boards check ownership of a license.
Please note that when filing a complaint, personal information is required as there are countries where the licensing authorities do not investigate anonymous complaints.
How to Report a Veterinarian Effectively
- Contact information for your state board can be found on the official website of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Download a formal complaint form from the board’s official website or obtain a copy by calling, writing, or emailing the board office. Here is an example of that Texas Veterinary Medical Association customer complaint form.
- Follow the instructions to file the complaint. Include as much information as possible (names of everyone involved, specific dates, treatment performed, full description of the event, all of your pet’s medical records, expert testimony, etc.). Fill in all applicable blocks completely. If necessary, add additional information.
- Check that your veterinarian has a valid license.
- Submit your complaint in writing.
- Don’t forget your appointments. In most states, you have the right to report veterinary malpractice or negligence within 1-3 years of the incident.
As a rule, upon receipt of a written complaint, the board appoints an investigator. This person will keep you informed of the progress of your case according to the deadlines given.
After investigating your complaint through a veterinary clinic or veterinarian, you will be informed of the outcome. In the event of a violation, the board will take appropriate action, from reprimand to revocation of the license.
Remember that the licensing authorities are disciplinary and cannot claim damages. All fee disputes will be settled in civil proceedings. There are no statistics on cases of veterinary malpractice, but it can be assumed that they are not uncommon. The high cost of some veterinary procedures leads pet owners to file lawsuits against veterinarians.
Many complainants choose to hire a lawyer to help them resolve their veterinary dispute. Once you’ve decided to hire an attorney to figure out how to effectively report a veterinarian, make a rational assessment of the situation. Even if you win the case, your compensation will not be substantial.
You should always keep in mind that in the United States, a companion animal is considered personal property by law. So your recovery is limited to the cost of replacing your pet with another. Unfortunately, your loss, stress, and waste of time in the process may not bring you to the expected conclusion. This means you can pay more legal fees than you get back.
On the other hand, you can report veterinary misconduct to prove that your pet is unique and has reasonable sentimental value to you. In the case of a positive Result, your recovery will be much higher. For example, in February 2004, California’s Marc Bluestone was awarded $ 39,000 in a malpractice trial.
He sued veterinarians for negligence and proved his Labrador Retriever was worth $ 30,000. In addition, the jury awarded Marc Bluestone $ 9,000 more for “improper” payment to the Animal Referral Center.
There are several different scenarios how the problem can be dealt with at a veterinary clinic. The worst situation is when you avoid further investigation, never complain, and forget about a conflict. No matter how bad the treatment or loss you experienced at a veterinarian, the first rule is not to be silent about your problems. As shown by dozens of reviews online, speaking can help others avoid the same situations. By removing your dissatisfaction with a veterinary clinic, you not only raise awareness of the problem, but you can even save a pet’s life.
After all, neither a complaint to the state veterinary associations or licensing offices nor civil proceedings will bring your pet or inner peace. But you can restore justice and protect other people from incompetent veterinarians who have reported animal faults or negligence.