Do I have a legitimate case against a local university veterinary hospital to sue them?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Blacklick, OH

My 10-year old female pug went to a local university vet hospital, due to a recommendation from my local vet. The registered vet there who examined her was horrible, masking her fake interest with a capitalistic motivation (in my mind and that of my other half). The diagnosis, while likely accurate, was septic shock (blood poisoning), etc. While already having had to pay several hundred dollars, late at night, we were encouraged to leave her with them, which would require a $1750 down-payment - this would have taken a week or so. We were told if we took her home (to research), and care for her until we had a day to check options, she would likely die a horrible death. She (our girl) didn't. The emotional anguish was horrible as we had no other option but to take her home. Do we have a case

Additional information

The registered vet at the hospital suggested that we euthanize our dog, and even as we left with her, said that she (the vet) would be there for 3-more hours, in case we decided to go that route. While we paid them about $700 for the visit, and IV fluids, they wanted to run a series of tests and expected 50% of the estimated cost in order to begin them. This was at 9 PM at night, and neither my other half or I had away to collect/access funds in such a short time frame.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Kyle J Bristow

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . If you want to pursue this, you should consult a personal injury attorney and relay all of the information to them.

    I do not believe that you have a case after reading what you have posted; however, this does not mean that you should not speak with a personal injury attorney.

    The vet hospital only told you their prices and you were afforded an opportunity to make an informed decision regarding which course of treatment you would like to pursue. This isn't inherently tortious.

    Regarding your "mental anguish," an argument could be made that you were subjected to it not through the vet's fault, but rather, because your "girl" was seriously sick. Also, even if the vet hospital acted negligently, much Ohio caselaw holds that the value of a dog is not to be determined by the owner's sentimental value of it. IIED is arguably not relevant, because nothing done towards you was "extreme and outrageous." Vets reasonably charge a lot of money for their services--they go through a lot of school to become a vet (I have heard it is harder to become a vet than a doctor for humans, because of the limited number of vet schools).

    Plus, even assuming that you did have a case, it would likely need to be brought in the Court of Claims if the vet hospital is run by a public university. Good luck getting a massive judgment there!

    If, however, your dog became sick because of something the vet did negligently, or if the prices were increased because of race discrimination or something else that is improper to consider, you may have a case on a different legal theory than negligence.

    No attorney-client relationship is established via AVVO.com. The material posted by Kyle J. Bristow, Esq., is for... more
  2. Michael Lynn Walker

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . I concur with my Avvo colleagues.

  3. L. Maxwell Taylor

    Contributor Level 20

    5

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    Answered . Sue for what? I know of no principle of law which obliges veterinarians to treat animals for free. Your dog may well have had septic shock, which you appear to recognize. It's an extremely serious condition, and I know of no reason why you would sue this vet. I think you just had sticker shock about the cost of the veterinary services.

    Not legal advice, just my two cents. I practice in Vermont ONLY. Please consult an Ohio lawyer if you need legal advice.

  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

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    Answered . I'm sorry to hear about your dog, however, the vet doesn't have to treat your dog. Consider finding another vet.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  5. Gerald Scott Leeseberg

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . I do not believe you have a viable claim for veterinary malpractice. Additionally, under Ohio law compensation would be limited to the expenses incurred even if you could prove negligence. As such, it would not be economically feasible to pursue such a claim, as the litigation expense and attorney fees would far exceed whatever recovery could be made.

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