Commentary: 20/20 piece worthy of outrage from veterinary profession

Commentary: 20/20 piece worthy of outrage from veterinary profession

source-image
Nov 25, 2013

Friday night, 20/20 put a magnificent spotlight on veterinary medicine in a seven-minute segment that also included confessions of a car thief and short-pouring bartenders, among other class acts. It seems we veterinarians are hanging with some pretty good company these days.

But seriously: Every veterinarian in the world should be outraged by the idiocy of this television network and Andrew Jones, the disgruntled alleged veterinarian whose views they chose to highlight. Both should face lawsuits. I am disappointed that a reported DVM would so blatantly make statements that will likely do more harm than good in advancing pet health and pet owners’ relationship with their veterinarian. If Jones ever had any good intentions in making his statements, the method he chose to relay his message was entirely misguided.

Those of us who truly do care about our profession and our patients have every right to be outraged. We have many reasons for a passionate response to the hot air pouring out of 20/20 and Jones. Here are just a few of my thoughts, some of which I hope will convey the spirit we all have for our practice and love of veterinary medicine.

I am 100 percent in favor of more educated clients. The most informed clients are often the most likely to provide the care their pet needs. When a client challenges us to give medical reasoning behind a recommendation, this is our opportunity to shine. This is our chance to let all of those years of schooling and the hard-earned practice experience come through. Bring it on.

We have all met a veterinarian who puts profit before veterinary science and patient care. I know those people exist and I have faith that those veterinarians will not last long, or at the very least will not live out meaningful careers. If Jones was so displeased with his experiences in private practice, he had other options to deal with them, including quitting his job and reporting the boss to his medical board. So he made decisions and recommendations he’s now uncomfortable with? Let him deal with that himself; no need to bring the rest of us into his world.

We should believe in the work we doand not be ashamed if practicing excellent, compassionate medicine actually turns out to be profitable. We deserve it, and our patients and clients deserve it even more.

Finally, let’s examine the photo of the good Dr. Jones shown during his sensational “confessional”: Didn’t bother to tie his surgery gown, no surgical mask, no anesthetic technician. I’m not seeing much in the way of anesthetic monitoring. No comment from the reporters about that. After watching the video clip, I rushed to Jones’ website, theonlinevet.com. I highly recommend it for pure entertainment value.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a waiting room full of emotional pet owners to go prey on. And thanks to 20/20, when I’m done I can make sure my bartender is treating me fairly before I go out for my first grand theft auto. In all seriousness, though, did y’all see that vodka in the straw trick? You bartenders should be ashamed! Alarming!

Dr. Jeremy Campfield is a dvm360 contributor who works in emergency and critical care private practice in Southern California.