Please Note: I wrote this with it all fresh in my mind. Everything stated below is based on my opinion of how I felt, my point of view, and my side of the story. I hope through research that I will be able to be connected to the appropriate people to determine if everything that happened to Frankie was right or if we were taken advantage of financially/emotionally. I also submitted this to Jazzy & Mumbo’s Thrift Store. They are a 100% volunteer run non-profit thrift store aimed at helping pet owners when they need help with unexpected vetrinarian bills. My submission to recieve financial help with this bill has not been accepted yet. I would like to encourage anyone and everyone that can to please bring items you no longer need or want to this thrift store, make money donations to the cause, and spread the word. The more people that come into the thrift store to buy things, the more people they can help.
On Wednesday, August 26th my kitten, Frankie, went in to be neutered. He is just about 6 months old and the doctor okay’d his health for this procedure. His records are up to date. I brought him there at 7:30 AM. Later that morning (8:43 AM), I received a phone call from Dr. Crystal Meganau. She stated that Frankie had a severe reaction to the sedation medication they gave him.
Within 3 minutes of giving him the medication, he began vomiting, convulsing, and his breathing was strained. At that point, she wasn’t able to give me any kind of outcome nor did she let me know what the treatment plan would be. She just called to inform me. (Which I appreciated given the circumstances.)
A couple of hours later (10:33 AM), she called with an update. At this point, she still was unable to confidently say that he was going to be “okay.” She let me know that they did a series of chest x-rays and found fluid in his lungs. They hooked him up to oxygen and a catheter and noted that they are giving him fluids through IV’s. She also noted that they gave him reverse medication (something to do with reversing the medication that gave him the reaction) and a steroid shot. During this call, she noted that he hadn’t vomited in a while.
I then called Dr. Meganau over my lunch hour (12:19 PM) to check in on Frankie. This call was much more optimistic but we weren’t totally in the clear yet. She let me know he was still on oxygen, fluids, and the catheter. He was doing better and sleeping. During this phone call, I asked about the cost of today’s events given that I figured I’d need to address it at some point. She said she didn’t have that information available.
The doctor called me later that afternoon (2:26 PM) to let me know that he is now doing well. They had taken him off of everything that they put him on and gave him a 2nd chest x-ray to make sure there was no longer fluid in his lungs. She noted that he was playing with a cat toy they provided him. She also noted that the total for everything that happened today was going to be somewhere in the 600’s. (She gave me an actual total at that point, but I can’t recall what it was.)
When I went to pick Frankie up, the doctor again went over everything that had happened that day. But, they wouldn’t let me see Frankie until I paid a portion of the bill which totaled at $637.08. (This is the final total. It was higher but I believe they removed a customer copy of the x-rays to bring it down to that.) I asked about discounts and asked if I was going to be charged for the medication that initially caused the reaction, ect. Discounts are not available and I am being charged for the medication that set off this whole reaction. They also noted that everything listed on the bill was necessary. At this point, I didn’t have the energy to argue because I felt as if I was pushed to my limit and had to “trust” that everything done was absolutely necessary throughout the day.
The receptionist that day was Tonya Fliflet. She was very rude during the check-out process. I had gotten bad news after bad news all day so I was an emotional wreck. Up to this point, I still had not seen my kitten and just wanted to go home with him in hand. I let Ms. Fliflet know that I only had $200 cash because I had intended on paying for the neutered appointment today so I gave her that. I don’t have a back up stash of money to pay the remainder at that moment. (Who would?)
She noted that I could either set up an account with them or apply for a credit card on her computer. I wasn’t comfortable doing either and knew that I needed to discuss this information and the charges with my boyfriend. I did not want my personal information stored on her computer, nor did I want to take out credit for something like this.
She reiterated that she would not release my kitten to me without one or the other and asked for my bank account information and my social security number. I again noted that I wasn’t comfortable providing my information on a piece of paper. (It wasn’t an official document of any kind).
I ended up putting my information down because I was on the verge of tears and wanted to see my kitten. I felt incredibly violated. It was clear that Mr. Fliflet was used to playing with the emotions of a pet owner. She was incredibly unprofessional.
Frankie never did get neutered that day.
I was pleased with Dr. Meganau keeping me informed and explaining things in a language that I could understand. I am thankful and appreciative that he was taken care of and he is okay.
However, I do not know, because I do not have the knowledge in the field, if all the steps and charges taken were necessary to Frankie being okay nor if all the steps taken were protocol. (Should I have been asked if they can do x-rays and oxygen? Should I have been notified of prices prior to action being taken?)
I asked repeatedly the morning of, what could happen if things don’t go right? Would he be in pain? What kind of complications could arise? Would there be issues with the medication? I was reassured that “this is a routine procedure” and was not told of possible complications even when I asked.
I think that upon the very first visit at a new vet, payment options should be discussed in the event that something catastrophic happens. It is incredibly unfair and morally unjust to “hold” a pet from the owner after the pet and the owner suffered what Frankie went through.
My mom and boyfriend can both attest that I didn’t have a good feeling about this procedure going into it. I was worried that something would go wrong and was frustrated when everyone told me it’ll be okay. I usually am pretty good with listening to what my gut instinct tells me. I would encourage anyone that doesn’t feel right about a situation, to take your own word on it because you’re probably right.
Thank you for reading, thank you for the Frankie prayers, and thank you everyone that put up with me that day and the days following. Frankie is doing okay. He is still very tired and not himself yet. He’s on medication through next week. I’m confident that he’ll be back to himself in no time.