Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Awesome day today

Today was pretty cool. I spent this morning in lab learning how to suture. Way easier than I thought it would be.

In PBL today, we got our neuro case. We haven't touched neuro before, so every single piece of information on the disclosure was pretty foreign to me. As I was reading, I was trying to remember snippets of information of information from undergrad physiology, without much luck. There's so incredibly much I need to learn this week, and I've only been out of class for 20 minutes, and I already feel behind. Welcome to my life.

In Vet Issues today, we had a speaker from Sorry Works, an orginization that talks to physicians about how apologizing and being transparent about mistakes can prevent expensive malpractice suits. Maybe this is because I'm (probably) the only one of my classmates that has, (almost) taken a vet to court, that it has seemed pretty intuitive to me.

Long story short, a few years ago I adopted a dog from the Humane Society, and they required that he be neutered before he could go home. They wouldn't let my normal vet do it, so I picked a practice that had a good reputation that was on their list. The doctor that did the neuter didn't ligate the testicular arteries correctly, and the single ligature on BOTH sides came off, causing my dog to hemmorhage, and racked up a VERY expensive emergency vet bill. He then tried to blame the outcome first on me (telling my I must've let my dog jump up on me or something - even though he was still groggy from anesthesia, and was very sedate until I noticed the swelling from the hemmorhage,) then tried to blame his suture company, saying that he'd had a "couple" ligatures come loose recently. The vets at the emergency clinic told me that the knots weren't tied tightly enough, and that they were shocked that there were still vets that only did one ligature per side. He promised to reimburse me for my emergency vet bills AFTER the suture company reimbursed him. He then proceeded to blow me off for the next month or so. Eventually, it got to the point to where I had all the paperwork filled out to take him to small claims court, and was going to have him served the next day. I decided to try one last thing before bringing him to court - I called Tom Martino the Troubleshooter, who has a radio show that concentrates on consumer protection. He called the vet who botched my dog's neuter, and half an hour later, I got a call from the vet saying my check would be at the front desk for me to pick up, then proceeded to yell at me and insult me for calling the radio show. Had he just apologized, admitted his mistake instead of blame shifting, and covered the bill for his mistake, I wouldn't have been as angry about the situation. But instead, here it is years later, and his name still makes me bristle. So yes, "sorry" does work. So does not being a grade-A asshole.

Anyway, that incident happened, and I was convinced at the time if I ever became a vet, that I would never act like that guy if (or when) I made a mistake. That experience taught me the value of saying "Medicine is both art, and science. I messed up on the art end. Unfortunately, I'm only human. How can I fix it for you?" It made me verry happy to have that same message officially be part of our curriculum.

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