Are we living in a Fascist Veterinary State or a Seinfeld episode?

It’s hard to say and may quite possibly be both.

The story starts last Wednesday evening when my cockapoo Trixy caught one of her hind paws in our front door and tore her nail right out.  She did it just as we walked in. It was a real gusher. Blood everywhere. So off we went to our trusted veterinary emergency room ASEC in West LA,  just a couple of miles away.

Sitting in traffic on the way there I had a funny feeling and I actually thought about going to VCA West LA where Trixy could have used her 20% rescue discount. I also thought about tending to it myself with cornstarch and a paper towel. Pet care and animal rescue have taught me quite a bit so I did think about tending to it myself. At least this way I could wait until morning until when could see our regular vet. Then I thought, no — her comfort is just not worth the savings so we continued on our way to ASEC.

I have been taking my pets to ASEC for about twelve years, for  as long as their doors have been open. Even at 2am, I have received the best care for my pets. But on this evening, the energy was off and I felt it as soon as we walked in. Some of the receptionists were snickering and the one who helped us was a bit on the sarcastic side. Even the tech who came to get Trixy was not his normal self. He is usually very funny and sweet to the dogs.

Because Trixy has Addison’s Disease, she is at risk of an Addisonian Crisis if she gets stressed. So we asked if instead of waiting a room we could wait in the lobby. Well, this didn’t sit well with anyone and I suspect it was the cause of the downward spiral of our visit. Dr. Chou, insisted we come into the room. I explained about the Addison’s but she wanted everything done by the book. While Trixy rattled away on my husband’s lap, Dr. Chou asked if Trixy had any major medical conditions.

“Just the Addison’s I mentioned, doctor.”

“And what triggers it?”

“Ah, stress, doctor.”

$255 later they had cleaned and clipped Trixy’s paw and we were discharged.  I was surprised there were no antibiotics or pain meds. The tech told me the doctor would answer my questions.

Thirty minutes later, Dr. Chou finally appeared and handed discharge instructions off to the receptionist who then handed them to me.  There was no review  or even so much as a thank you or goodnight. When I got to the car I saw that what they handed me was a xerox copy of “How to Stop Your Dog’s Nail From Bleeding.”

This for $255?

I had to speak up for myself. The receptionists of course defended the doctor and their policies. Back at home, Dr. Chou called. I naively thought she was calling to help. Maybe we’d get some antibiotics after all. Not the case. Instead, Dr. Chou raised her voice to me. She outlined the hospital policy — vets do not review discharge instructions. That’s the job of the front desk.

Early the next morning, I called the hospital to ask for pain meds and antibiotics. Based on my dog’s tortured night I knew we needed them. Nobody called me back. Now I was annoyed and yes, I thought it was fair to write about my experience on Yelp.

Well, today was day five and still no return phone call.   I called twice today to ask for antibiotics. They suggested I call my regular vet. After being insistent, they finally transferred me to the front office manager — Lavonne. This is where I suddenly felt like Elaine from Seinfeld because:

Lavonne informed me that due to  my negative review on YELP, the owners of the practice, Dr. Gil and Dr. Anderson along with the chief of staff, Dr. Cruikshank, had made a unilateral decision to ban me and my pets from the hospital.

I was in complete shock. Could it be a joke? No such luck. She made no bones about it. The negative review on YELP had portrayed the hospital as a whole in a negative light.  I was told to expect a letter and the medical charts of all my pets.

I hung up and had a little cry over the news. More than a little humiliating I would say and god forbid something happens to our pets, then what?

My husband  as usual  was the voice of reason. If this is ASEC’s standard of practice, how can we put our pets into their hands with any trust?  Not only did we receive terrible service and sub-standard care, they compromised Trixy’s health by not addressing the antibiotics and she is clearly on her way to infection (so tomorrow we will take her to our regular vet).

Now, that I’ve cried I have to laugh. We are big Seinfeld fans and know almost every episode line for line. My little drama today is right up there with the Soup Nazi not to mention the episode where Kramer is banned from buying fruit at the bodega. Speaking of the bodega, there is the episode where Jerry bounces a check (Clown Themed no less!) and the bodega owner refuses to take it down unless Kramer will fight his rooster named “Little Jerry Seinfeld.” There is also the episode where Kramer borrows a dog so he can go to the vet for meds for his cough.

Well obviously, I won’t be doing that next time I get a cough.  At least not at ASEC.