Recently, Krista Magnifico, DVM and practice owner of Jarrettesville Veterinary Center in Maryland, posted a video on Facebook of herself speaking her outrage about the high cost of emergency hospital visits, calling out the need for transparency in standards of care and for more options to be given to pet parents. A second video in response to the first was made because of the anger in the comments from both sides. Dr. Magnifico asked the Facebook community to share their stories and share, they did.
What ensued in comments in threads on Facebook, in addition to people sharing their stories, was defense and justification by some in the veterinary community. Some of you even went so far as to call her mental health into question, while another blamed her for having this conversation, for the high suicide rate in the veterinary profession. It got so heated, it caused admins, including myself, to close the threads, just to keep the peace. Me, I just wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there forever. When I resurfaced, I realized I needed to reach out and write this open letter to veterinarians.
I know that there are many who understand and like me, stand with Dr. Krista, yet I must ask the rest of the veterinary community if you can see the big picture as well as the crisis? If not, I dare say that you are failing your patients, their guardians and the entire veterinary community.
Having a dialogue about what isn’t working for pets and their parents isn’t shameful or hurtful to your profession; it’s intelligent and prudent.
I was thinking of this:
The Veterinarian’s Oath was adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association‘s House of Delegates July 1969, and amended by the AVMA Executive Board, November 1999 and December 2010.
“Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.
I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”
Many pet parents are struggling with the high cost and often times inflated charges at Emergency Hospitals. This is a reality of animal welfare, society and veterinary medical ethics.
To those of you who have denied or diminished that this is truly a reality, is to turn a deaf ear on those who depend on you the most. This IS the time to talk about how to make veterinary medicine more affordable and accessible in emergency hospitals. This IS the time to talk about transparency in standards of care and what options are available. If your clients are speaking about it, it’s a conversation that needs to be had.
Do you think it’s possible to come together to have an intelligent conversation about how to satisfy the needs of your patients and clients that upholds the veterinary oath and everyone benefits?
To those of you who have a story to tell please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and put in the subject line “The Voice My Pet Never Had.”