ED Magedson – Founder
Banfield Veterinary Clinic4540 Grape Rd Mishawaka, Indiana United States of America
I took a newly adopted pet for a follow up with this vet after a prior emergency vet visit for possible bowel obstruction. My appointment was at 3pm on 11/30/11 and I did not leave the facility until after 1am on 12/1/11. The doctor agreed that cat could have bowel obstruction.
I was originally asked to sign a consent for a barium x-ray, which I did. I then waited for many hours before knowing what was going on with my pet. Eventually someone came & said they were in the process of giving my cat an enema, which I had not signed the consent for at that time and that the doctor was afraid to do barium x-ray in case emergency surgery was needed. Staff hardly spoke to me while I waited many hours to find out when and if they were going to do surgery. No one approached me to sign a consent or discuss the need for surgery until approximately 11pm on 11/30/11. The office closes at 7pm and my cat was stable.
Around 1am on 12/1/11 when surgery was complete and the doctor spoke to me about what she saw, I was very upset because the news was not good and I took it to mean that my new pet would probably die. She stated the cat probably had FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis), which is a highly contagious disease amongst cats. I was upset because my other cat had all ready been exposed to my new cat and was explaining this to her when she stated, "How do you think I feel? My 15 year old cat, Fred, is in the back. What if he gets sick?" This is very poor and non-therapeutic communication with a client.
She told me I needed to make a decision in regards to what to do with the cat, "take him home or..." I interpreted this statement as "take him home or euthanasia". I explained that I needed to contact my husband and she proceeded into the back area of the clinic. I phoned my husband and then knocked on the back area's door and was invited back. I was very upset and crying because I was under the impression my cat would not recover & would likely die, probably had FIP, and that my other cat would likely become sick as well. In my upset state, I stated, "I don't know what to do". doctor stated, "Well you need to hurry up and make up your mind because it's 1am and I have a 14 year old daughter at home." I stated, "I will take him home".
I then walked over to the kennel my cat was being kept in and was petting him and waiting for them to give me the consent to sign (which I did AFTER the fact, shame on me) and to take my payment (I had to open a line of credit as it was to pay for this bill). The vet was discussing with 2 other employees about how she was not going to get any sleep and was "going to go home, take a quick shower & then put on my clothes for tomorrow & sleep in them so I can just hop out of bed & come to work." I found this highly inappropriate to be discussed in front of a client and this type of discussion only made me feel guiltier that they were staying so late. However, if the clinic closed at 7pm and my cat was stable, why not send me to the ER vet instead?
A 2nd opinion was sought by myself & the animal rescue group I adopted the cat from. They were picking up the cost and told me to see one of the veterinarians they use. I was under impression by Banfield employees that we were still waiting on biopsy reports to come back and my husband was told that "6 - 8" biopsies were taken. I was informed on 12/8/11 that no biopsies were sent out to pathology and now have no idea what could have caused my cat's illness.
I phoned their corporate office on 12/9/11 and later that evening (after 9pm) the doctor called me. When I tried to inquire why biopsies were not done, she stated I was only paying for an exploratory surgery. I had not accused her of charging me for something she had not done, I was trying to ask why biopsies were not done. She said that she explained that FIP could not be diagnosed with 100% accuracy while the animal was alive, which she did explain. However, I was trying repeatedly to ask her why biopsies were not done to rule out other conditions.
If my pet becomes sick again with the same problems in the future, surgery could be required to obtain biopsies so a treatment option could be devised. If biopsies had been sent we might have some kind of idea of what was causing my cat's illness and in case of future illness, my cat could possibly be treated without invasive surgical procedures. Now, that is no longer an option.
She accused me for the mistake because I had not asked for biopsies. I was highly upset about what was occurring with my pet, it is her job as a doctor of veterinary medicine to inform me of all options. When she stated that she would not be doing biopsy to look for possible FIP, I did not know that did not include other biopsies to rule out other conditions. I would have paid more at that time for those biopsies. However, I have all ready been billed & paid for that bill the night the services were rendered.
The doctor then went on to state that a billing error was made and that I was not billed for emergency fee and other costs that came out to at least $400. When I explained that a billing error was not my mistake, she went on to state that if this had occurred in a hospital, I would have to pay those costs. I'm not 100% convinced of that at all. I am now unclear if she will be billing me for that extra amount and do not feel it is fair if she does since this is their mistake. I am also unsure she is capable of calculating the proper cost without being biased because I have complained. In other words, would costs be inflated due to the complaint?
Again, my question regarding the biopsy was never answered and instead she went in circles, blamed me, and her staff, and even our new vet for not contacting her. We were also unable to address the other customer service issues including the inappropriate statements at that time.
When trying to make my point clear that she could have sent me to the ER vet clinic for surgery instead of waiting until 11pm to start surgery, she stated that she had to wait until 11pm because I had not signed the consent form until then. I had not been offered a consent form to sign at that time nor had any idea what was going on until they came to tell me around 11pm that they were doing surgery.
It is not my responsibility to track down an employee to have that form signed, it is their responsibility to keep me in the loop as to what is going on and to ensure that the consent form is signed in a timely manner. After being told that this was an emergency situation, I could not figure out why it was taking so long for my cat to be treated while the doctor saw other patients. I feel it was inappropriate to blame me for an unsigned consent form at 11pm when I had not been offered one to sign.
All in all, I spent nearly 11 hours in the clinic that day.
Other issues - they did not return my CD from the emergency clinic that contained my cat's x-ray and I had to request a new one from the emergency clinic. I had called to request the medical record including copies or discs with the x-rays they took for the new vet who was giving a 2nd opinion (which greatly differs from hers). They said they would have them ready at the time I requested, then they did not have them ready when I arrived.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/10/2011 12:05 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/banfield-veterinary-clinic/mishawaka-indiana-46545/banfield-veterinary-clinic-dr-alexis-schulman-poor-customer-service-8-hour-wait-for-e-807473. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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