Help Pls - Dog dies suddenly under care of vet
I need to decide what to do - do I pursue a legal course of action, do I file a complaint with the veterinarian board or do I move on with life?
The short-short version:
- we took our pet in to get his ears checked and roughly 8 hours later he died of complications. The vets actions, though not intentional, caused his death.
The less-short version:
- 4 month old bichon-****zu
- we visit the vet to get his ear looked at - there were signs of an infection
- the vet decides that picking hair out of his ear is necessary
- the dog screams and the vet suggests we're exciting him and suggests they take him to another room; we agree to let them do this [and we are now haunted by this decision]
- we sit in an adjacent room and listen to the dog scream for a few minutes and everything goes quiet
- later we find out that they muzzled him and during the ordeal he vomited in his muzzle
- he takes vomit into his lungs
- the vet comes back into the room and tells us they need to watch him in case he develops aspiration pneumonia
- the vet watches him the remainder of the day (~4 hours); we receive mixed reports throughout the day
- the dog stops breathing and they put him on oxygen
- they transfer him in an emergency vet ambulance to a specialist centre
- he arrives and shortly thereafter his heart stops
- they perform cpr, but it's ultimately too late
- aspiration pneumonia had set in and our little dog died in roughly 8 hours
We're having an autopsy performed that will likely confirm the opinion of the specialist that the stress caused by the vet caused not only the induction of the vomit, but also (if I recall correctly) adrenalin that jammed open his blood vessels in his lungs and caused his lungs to fill with fluid.
Our family is completely heartbroken and I am trying to determine a course of action. I have zero interest in receiving financial compensation. If, in fact, the evidence supports some form of negligence/mishandling, I want to prevent another animal (and family) from going through the same mess.
If it's just a serious of unfortunate events, and from a legal standpoint the vet isn't going to be held responsible for the death of this animal, then I'd like to move on and drop the notion of going to the board, looking at small claims, getting a lawyer, etc.
As a side note, for those having your pets looked after by vets:
- don't ever let them take your pet out of the room (particularly for something that should be routine)
- we should have gone back to the vet that afternoon to check on our dog - and we should have gotten him out of there and taken him to a specialist earlier; always get second opinions
- don't let your vet mislead you about how serious something might be; we allowed ourselves to be comforted by the soft-delivery of what our pet was going through - we were ill-informed and trusted too much
Thanks in advance for the advice/feedback.