Special Report: Pet Malpractice
Patricia Foye of Brockton remembers the January night her beloved lab was in a horrible accident.
"Suga was laying on the ground and, um, legs were extended behind him," Foye said. I was just praying that maybe he just broke his leg."
But the injuries were far more serious. Suga, who now uses a dog wheel chair, had broken his back.
"The next morning the doctor calls me back and said that she had some bad news, she said that Suga was doing good but he had no pain sensation," Foye said.
Suga had emergency surgery, but afterwards his vertebra was still out of place.
"I was shocked to see my dog like that," Foye said.
Foye said she was never given any other options besides surgery and was never told about any potential side effects, thatís why she's taking legal action against the hospital.
"There are areas of the law that you can argue that people have a duty to you and if they breach that duty they owe you any damages that they have caused," Foyeís attorney said.
This isn't the first case of its kind.
In California, a jury awarded $39,000 for the death of a dog that was misdiagnosed.
A Kentucky jury awarded $15,000 to the owner of a dog who bled to death after surgery.
And in Florida, a man is suing his vet for medical complications.
Judges are beginning to award more money for the loss.
Former Boston-based attorney Steven Wise has been speaking out for animal rights for more than 20 years. He says a lot has changed when it comes to standing up for pets.
"I donít get offers of $50 to settle a case as I may have say in 1985," Wise said.
Veterinarians, however, argue that they're just doing their job and add that malpractice cases will only drive up the cost of treatment.
"Ultimately a lot of people will be priced out of properly providing for their animals and thatís a mistake," John Dejong of the Neponset Animal Hospital said.
But Foye said itís her vet who made the mistake, so she's moving forward with legal action.
"I promised Suga I would take care of him for the rest of his life as long as he wants," Foye said. "Iím not giving up on him."
And from the looks of things, Suga isn't giving up either.
Its important to note pets are considered property, thatís why attorneys have a difficult time winning cases in court. If you'd like more information on veterinary malpractice cases and how you can help Suga, click here.
If you would like to help Suga, please send donations to:
"The Friends of Suga Foundation"
The Harbor One Credit Union
PO Box 720
Brockton, MA 02303
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