If you believe your pet was harmed by the actions of your veterinarian, what are your legal options for recourse? In this episode, Lori explores many aspects of veterinary malpractice with attorney Bob Ferber, former Los Angeles animal cruelty prosecutor.
Although there are some parallels between the law as it relates to medical malpractice issues and procedures in humans and those in veterinary care, the practical situations are quite different. A central issue is the legal status of animals. Essentially, nonhuman animals are considered to be property by the law, and not persons, which considerably limits the legal actions that could be pursued.
Other practical matters impeding legal action for veterinary malpractice include the poor record keeping on the part of veterinarians, which Ferber claims is commonplace and highly susceptible to fraud and falsification, and the relatively small monetary awards that could be won even if a suit is successful. Almost uniformly, damages would be limited to the dollar value of the pet on the market, and excludes pain and suffering, emotional distress, and so on.
Consequently, there are very few lawsuits against veterinarians and seldom are they successful.
Lori and Bob also discuss the avenue of making complaints to state veterinary boards as a means of at least seeking some redress. Ferber claims that very rarely is disciplinary action taken by the boards.
So, the best course of action is to do what you can as a pet guardian to help avoid these situations, which includes nurturing a strong relationship with excellent caring vets. And, importantly, make sure your questions are addressed when procedures and surgeries are planned, including aftercare.
To conclude, it has been a busy summer for sharks in the news and shark lovers have just reported that there are now more than 500 distinct species of them identified. But whether you are a little afraid of sharks or admirer of their majesty, test you shark smarts with Lori’s fun shark quiz!
And, our cats are enjoying Catit Creamy Cat Treats.