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A major disappointment: perfunctory office exams and misdiagnosis - Review by cat c | Jones Stephen M Dvm - Queen Anne Animal Clinic

Jones Stephen M Dvm - Queen Anne Animal Clinic

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A major disappointment: perfunctory office exams and misdiagnosis 1/27/2008

Isn't "the system" is supposed to weed out incompetence and poor performance? Dr. Spencer, the new owner, refused to see my dying cat just because I saw another vet. I consider this serious professional misconduct. After the first office visit, I repeatedly and diplomatically asked to see another, ANY other veterinarian there. Apparently, it was the previous vet-owner, Dr. Stephen Jones, who built up the reputation of this clinic. Spencer misdiagnosed speckling on my cat's nose as precancerous lesions based on a two-second examination, handed us the estimate, and thus was ready to do surgery. This left me with the impression that he pretends to know things he does not. He generously told me that he could clean my cat's teeth and remove the lesion at the same time, provided that I submit the cat to an ultrasound cardiac screening ($500). He did not explain the risks involved in doing such surgery on a geriatric cat. This initial office visit was, to put it mildly, inadequate. Even the generally noncommittal cat's co-owner--on the faculty of the University of Washington., not disposed to comment negatively on anything--concurred, "He's [really] not very good, is he?" He examined my for a total of two minutes. He showed no genuine interest in my cat. His approach can be described as "shooting-from-the-hip." He summarized the first office visit by saying that my cat was in terrible shape. The next day, however, after he actually SEEN the lab results, he promptly reversed his opinion. And he stated that I could stop doing the sub-cutaneous injections completely, advice which, I believe, harmed my cat and led to his premature death. His expertise on felines is frankly nil, in my opinion. Claiming that a cat with chronic renal failure, just based on numbers, is back in a "pre-crash" phase flew in the face of good common sense (kidney function does not regenerate) and misleading. He can also be a control-freak as well. Refusing refills and stingily prescribing only three tablets of a medication widely used for feline in my cat's condition is absurd, when he is so slapdash himself. An illustration of his telephone manners, churlish, would be as follows: In the middle of a message left on your answering machine, he harangues you with "...and I'M TELLING YOU..." He could have walked straight out of Harry Hope's saloon (O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh"). Without my permission, he demanded--and revealed--sensitive personal information, which he admitted, later on, had not actually been necessary to have. To that say the other vet, Dr. Westerdahl, is mediocre would be to give her undue praise, notwithstanding her credentials, which look good only on paper. Her guarded, glacial demeanor did not make communication exactly easy. She did the bare minimum, evincing little interest, and then exited without even informing me the visit (all of 12 minutes) was over. When I informed an assistant that I still a question to ask, she primly and grimly returned, after having finished the urinalysis, and spent another five minutes with me. She had also had my cat's nails, trimmed, something I had not asked for. It did not compensate for a sub-mediocre office visit, unfortunately. I get the impression that they observe their clients with not exactly benign interest. I felt all along uncomfortable with the ambient distrust in the air, not helped the size of the reception area (equivalent to that of a large closet). I should have known better when, before deciding whether to go here or not, I interviewed the vet tech. We were suddenly pulled out of the room by a staff person who gave me a dirty look and then presented me with a bill for $40 (No one had even seen my cat!). They did not allow us to see our cat's blood being drawn, inventing a bit of nonsense for not doing so. (Who exactly is paying for this, by the way?). One vet tech, Kay, was very professional and genuinely caring, honest, and friendly. I am grateful to this sterling individual. The other staff, with their cosmetic smiles and occasional insolence, do their jobs. One other positive note: they do write prescriptions so you don't have to feel ripped off getting medications from their limited dispensary. New clients receive a pet handbook; the web-site also is moderately informative. Not a good place to bring a cat, in any case. Now I can see why a local pet store told me "NO ONE likes them." Note: Neither vet is a cat-owner, though the staff insists, a bit too strenuously, that they both "really like" cats. Really. more
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