Cat in Court Blames Lockjaw on Vet

lawyer cat.jpg
Flickr User: lady_mei
A cat owner who sued Imperial Point Animal Hospital for malpractice lost her case in Broward court last month. Now she is requesting a hearing in the court of public opinion, where all of us are jurors.

Below is a "before" shot of the cat at issue in this case, named Lupita. Two years ago, after finding that cat tangled in computer wire, its jaws injured from trying to chew its way free, Holly Wilson took it to the animal hospital on Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. She claims that veterinarian Dr. Boaz Man told her the cat's jaw "will go back by itself." But the jaw did not heal, Wilson claims, and by the time she took it to another vet, the bone fragments had shifted, turning what she believes was a temporary condition into a permanent one.

before cat.JPG
Photo courtesy Holly Wilson
Lupita
Wilson, an E.R. physician, represented herself in court but blames her defeat on the absence of an expert witness, which she says was too costly. To be fair, there may be some who would argue that a cat injury is too costly to be worth litigating with the county's public justice resources.

On the jump page, the "after" photo of Lupita along with Wilson's letter to Juice.
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Photo courtesy Holly Wilson
Lupita, after the injury that her owner says the vet failed to treat.
I brought my injured pet to Imperial Point Animal Hospital on July 25 2007. She has a birth deformity affecting both hind legs, and in the course of the night, one of them had gotten entangled in some computer wires. She tried to set herself fee by chewing her way out. When I found her in the morning, she was unable to close her mouth and was still entangled. She was brought to Imperial Point Animal Hospital, where they offer emergency services. She was grossly mismanaged. She was sent home with two missed jaw fractures, and I was given the impression by her vet Dr. Boaz Man that "it will go back by itself". She was finally referred to an orthopedic specialist three days later- where her fractures were identified. By then, she had shifting of the bone fragments, and her surgeon felt could not repair her.

I only began to question Dr. Man's medical decision making, when her orthopedist Dr. Robert Roy (incredible vet and human being!) asked about the delay in referral. I did my own research, regarding jaw trauma (I am an Emergency Medicine physician) and obtained multiple articles and text book references from vet schools across the US (including UFL) regarding the evaluation and management of jaw trauma. Dr. Man had NO IDEA what he was doing. I wrote an email to the owner of the clinic, which went unanswered. I then printed it and mailed it certified mail -- also unanswered. I scheduled a meeting with him face to face. Initially it was cordial. When I revealed that I felt as though I paid for nothing, he got up out of his seat and with his back turned to me, said "then sue him, he has malpractice." So I did. I hired a lawyer, just to help me with the filing, but I presented my case by myself. I did not have an expert- as that would have cost (literally) thousands of dollars. My case was heard on June 29 2009. The judge was sympathetic, and seemed to be on my side. But I lost. No animal welfare case has ever won in south Florida without an expert. Dr. Man actually evaded being served, and we provided this evidence to the judge. Clearly, if Dr. Man had practiced good medicine, he would have shown his face in the courtroom.

Pets and their owners of south Florida deserve much more than the treatment I received from both Imperial Point, and the justice system.
At Imperial Point Animal Hospital, a receptionist said that Man no longer works there. He could not be located for comment.


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