December 1, 2008
John B. Finley, DVM, Gail Sesock, DVM, Deni Benns, DVM, David M. Lane, DVM
Lakeside Veterinary Hospital
2001 Sweets Drive
Dear Drs. Finley, Sesock, Benns, and Lane:
On Friday, November 28, 2008, my 14-year-old dog became severely ill. She was dying and obviously in extreme pain. Unfortunately, it was after hours at her regular vet, so I attempted to get her emergency veterinary care. To put it bluntly, Doctors, I wished to have my beloved pet put down to ease what was obviously a supremely painful death. I wished to give my dog a humane end to her life.
I contacted the Emergency Service number listed in the phone book under Lakeside Veterinary Hospital. The first question I was asked by the man who answered the phone had nothing to do with the nature of the emergency. I was not asked any information about my dog at all. I was asked the name of my regular vet. I told them that our regular vet is Dr. James Bates of DuQuoin, IL. I was told, quite tersely, that your emergency service would not accept clients of Dr. Bates. No explanation. End of discussion. I explained that my dog was dying and in pain. It didn't matter. I was told I could seek service at 8:30 am when your practice opened in the morning. After two more hours of whimpering and suffering, my dog died at 1 am on November 29, 2008. She got no relief from her pain. She suffered needlessly, I believe due to your supreme arrogance.
I have no idea what your beef is with Dr. Bates and I honestly don't care, but as people dedicated to the care and treatment of animals, I can't imagine any circumstances under which a professional emergency veterinary service would deny euthanasia to a dying animal in severe pain. I wasn't expecting a house call. I realize it was late. I realize it was inconvenient. I realize I should have been expected to pay top dollar for service at that hour, but I would have paid any price to alleviate even one moment of her pain.
I don't understand why I was denied service. Isn't it the very nature of "emergency service" that it should operate like an emergency room? As a treatment option of last resort? Accepting all in need? I was not rude or hysterical. I was desperate. I had no other option and you took my only hope away from me, based on what? Discrimination? Do you have some sort of problem with Dr. Bates? What if I was a person traveling with my pet? Where were your professional ethics that night? What about simple compassion for another living being?
I hope one day that you get to experience the total frustration of seeking competent, compassionate professional help to ease the suffering of a loved one and are flatly denied it. Denied it without hope of convincing them of your worth. Denied it without any explanation. Denied it without exception. On a personal level, I think your unnamed representative on the phone is an asshole. On a professional level, I intend to tell everyone I know with pets of my experience with your veterinary emergency service and by extension your veterinary practice. I hope more than anything that knowing about my experience will cause you to reconsider your discriminatory policies and encourage you to consider offering emergency treatment to all members of our community fairly and with compassion regardless of where they obtain their primary veterinary care.
No one, least of all a helpless dying animal, should be treated this way. I hope they roast in hot places with persistent painful attacks to their genitals.