In order to get Sally out
of UCD VMTH, despite our disagreement with the discharge papers, we were forced to pay the charges in full. We put the charges on our MasterCard credit card. Sally’s
discharge papers stated they performed a surgery to biopsy Sally’s tumor, and that we agreed to it. We had specifically denied consent for surgery to biopsy and consented instead only to surgery to remove
the tumor on the advice of our hometown veterinarian. Upon discovering what procedure
was actually done, we realized Sally would not make a recovery. We put her to
sleep a short time after we returned home with her, in August, 2002.
Once we submitted our discharge papers
with our explanation and a note from our hometown veterinarian, our credit card company and our bank as well as the bank for
UCD VMTH agreed we did not owe UCD VMTH money. The bank for UCD VMTH charged
back UCD VMTH for the fees—literally took the monies back. Our bank removed
the charges from our bill. We thought our horrible experience was over, and we
tried to reconcile the loss of Sally. UCD VMTH waited one year (until the statute
no longer allowed us to sue them for malpractice) and then sued us for the fees already written off by the credit card company
and the banks. Eight years later, here we are.
In court UCD VMTH did not testify that they met the standard of care. We brought in an expert witness to explain why UCD
VMTH did not meet the standard of care. UCD VMTH acknowledged there were material
risks not revealed to us as a part of informed consent. UCD VMTH testified they routinely alter medical records
after the fact. All of the aformentioned acts would be in violation of the law for any other veterinarian in the State of
California. However, UCD VMTH contended in defense of their actions that California law exempted them from "all the rules
under the California Medical Veterinary Practices Act". The Court agreed with UCD VMTH and ruled in their favor.