Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Letter

This weekend has been a long blur...

The vet hospital contacted me last week while I was driving Galaxy to meet her new Momma. Needless to say, it wasn't pretty. They were polite- I was polite. But I was passionate and as much as I felt I was led in loops for a while, I wasn't letting go of my opinion- Neala shouldn't have been fed the food she received after surgery.

They did apologize for her loss- in as much as I know they are sorry that she died... And the good thing is- I know it's not JUST BECAUSE I'm causing a ruckus. But I do truly believe they were all saddened that our little trooper did not make it. I DO think they wanted her to come home, happy and healthy, because they love animals.

I think the main thing that angered me about the discussion was someone bringing up grief and using it as a scapegoat for my letter. I had to finally stop and point out that grief had nothing to do with my letter about Neala's aftercare. Of course, I am grieving her loss- we all are. Every single one of us who had her touch our hearts.

But loss is a part of our lives! We lose pets, we lose loved ones- we lose those we love and we have to deal with it each day of our lives. That's not why I wrote that letter, I must say!

The office manager finally came on and said she could tell the surgeon and I could go back and forth all day- and she's right.

This world kinda sucks sometimes. BECAUSE we live in a world where simply saying, "It was my mistake- I'm sorry" opens you up to lawsuits. BECAUSE admitting fault can get you in trouble... But no one is ever faultless- we all make mistakes in our jobs, in our lives, day to day...

So I knew as much as I didn't want to admit it- that the surgeon would never be allowed to admit a mistake even if he KNEW he made a BLATANT mistake!

The office manager offered a partial refund- and I told her I had to think about it.

And I did... I thought of everything... I thought, 'If I took it- does that mean I didn't fight hard enough for Neala?' And that is the thought that whirled around my head over and over and over while I tried to look at everything at every angle.

In the end, though- my goal with that letter wasn't a refund, partial or total, it was to ensure that Neala was not forgotten and that they watch their post operative care more carefully in the future. It was to ensure the next Neala has not only a kickass operation, BUT also superb aftercare.

So I talked to the office manager and said yes, we'll take a partial refund... She was very nice and honest today and I felt more at ease talking to her now then before. She had went to Neala's sites, she had seen her Facebook page, her website... She knows what went into Neala- we all loved her very much.

I will be making a donation in Neala's name AND in honor of my own veterinarian to the Winn Foundation with this money.

Neala will never ever be forgotten...


  1. I know it's not what you wanted but at least you got a partial refund and you better be sure that the next time they perform that surgery they will not feed the cat/dog the wrong food. So all your persistence I believe has paid off in that you made them aware of just what the wrong food/ after care can do. Goood job!

  2. None of us will ever forget Neala, she touched us all so deeply.
    I am glad they looked and saw how much support Neala had/has.
    Harry is correct, they will really watch each time they perform surgery now, and the aftercare, BECAUSE OF NEALA.
    That sweet tiny trusting angel did indeed make at least one difference, probably a lot more.
    And you did very very good by not giving up or selling out.
    We give you a Sherwood Kitty Six-Tail Salute!
    Love & Purrs,
    Missy Blue Eyes
    Faith Boomerang
    and written by Mom ML

  3. I totally agree with Harry. If nothing else, You really have made them think about the after care. And maybe they will be sure that all the people that work there know about Neala etc. We are so glad you wrote that letter and got their attention. Good job. We do miss Neala and was in all of our hearts.
    Take care.

  4. It is sad that most people will not admit to making a mistake - and because of lawsuits. I have lost cats due to vet mistakes - they said they were sorry and that is all you can expect. Neala will never be forgotten and maybe she will return to you in another form someday!

  5. Neala touched so many hearts, she will live on forever. We agree with Harry and ML, we think you and Neala have already made a difference.

    Sniffie and the Florida Furkids

  6. I know a refund, partial or otherwise, was never your reason for the letter but I think the vet and the staff will be much more careful for a long time because of what happen to Neala and that was what was your intention.
    I think your making the donation in Neala and your own vet's name is an excellent use of the refund.
    Snuggles and purrs,
    Anna in IL, mommy to Taz, Runt and Charles

  7. You got it, they can't just come out and say "hey, we made a mistake" because it does open them up to lawsuits, even if they know you and don't think you'll sue it's a matter of policy. But, you can also be sure that all the techs, after care people and probably even the receptionist got the "you must be more careful, observant and follow directions to the letter" speach. I know, because I just got that speach at the shelter over a surgical infection on a little pup because someone neglected to wash their hands before handling him. I knew it wasn't directed at me, I not only wash my hands before and after but carry in my pocket a bottle of hand sanatizer just in case. But I, just like everyone else there, took it to heart because the poor guys going to take a lot longer to heal than was necessary...and that is what you wanted all along, you wanted them to give the speach and be more diligent.

  8. You have worked diligently for Neala. Although your heart will never be satisfied, and that is understandable. Unfortunately there is no way for this to be a win win situation. WE hope that the 'speech' Zippy spoke of is what happened and we hope that going forward this Vet makes sure that all the procedures are followed correctly.

    Our purrs for Neala

  9. I will never forget sweet little Neala. I believe you have done everything you can with this situation. Hopefully now, the healing can begin.

  10. Oh my, I think you worked very hard and I truly think your words got to the staff and that is what matters...that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what to feed a PRAA kitty post surgery. I am so sorry the outcome was not what you had visualized as resolution, but may you be at peace with yourself in knowing you were Neala's advocate, all along. My heart aches for your loss and she will never be forgotten.

  11. We will always remember Neala and we hopes that from now on the vet place will be more careful with their post-op care.

  12. I, too, am sorry that you didn't get the response you hoped for - and I very much agree that insinuating that you wrote the letter because you are grieving is inappropriate. In any case, I think the refund IS an apology and I'm glad you accepted it. As everyone else has said, vets (and also human doctors) cannot admit they are wrong because of malpractice lawsuits. But I agree with what Zippy said and I am sure your letter was heard and made a difference.

    Sending you lots of purrs and hugs!
    Katie and the Mishkat cats

  13. I had a very simmier problem with maxie the vet who made him sick the vet who bruned his ephoughous never said he was sorry however the offce manger did say she was sorry for maxie pain and no ment to hurt maxie I do belive they never met to hurt however it hard when mistakes are made.

  14. I completely understand that your letter wasn't asking for money. I too would have written that letter in the hopes of helping PREVENT mistakes or maybe change the way they do their workflow. A partial refund is at least some acknowledgement, and kudos to you for donating it back to help other kitties.

  15. I can understand their reason for not saying that they made a mistake, but I don't know if I agree with it, and I think it is sad that this is the way things are now. Neala will never be forgotten, and even though the refund wasn't your goal hopefully it will help with the research to help other cats who need it. Which is a small thing but it is another way for Neala to be remembered. It still makes me so sad to think about and so I am sure that you are still hurting a lot - but at least one small positivie will come out of it - others will be helped. And hopefully, though they won't admit any wrongdoing, the vets office will be more careful in the future, to make sure this doesn't happen again.