OGDEN, Utah — A puppy receiving a routine surgery in Ogden came back from the veterinarian with cuts on her stomach and an IV left in her leg. Now the veterinarian in charge of the procedure is apologizing for mistakes made that day.
“Rubi” the Goldendoodle was spayed on Thursday, but was still in pain days after the procedure.
Ashley Chapman, the dog’s owner, said nobody at Borrett Animal Hospital told her Rubi was injured when she picked up her puppy. Instead, she said she found the IV and injuries when she got home.
“We saw her just yapping at her arm, she was like chewing on something,” Chapman said. “When I saw the IV (still intact), it just makes me so angry that someone could be so careless — because this is my child!”
Chapman removed the IV herself, not wanting to take any risks by waiting until the next day.
Dr. Kathy Borrett said she and her office staff do not have an excuse for the IV left in Rubi’s leg.
“We usually take them off while they’re on the table, and I don’t know why it didn’t get taken off,” Borrett said. “I’m sorry, I’m human, and yes, mistakes were made. I don’t feel this was a life-threatening mistake.”
Shortly after the surgery, Borrett said she received a phone call from her sister, informing her that their brother had died suddenly. She left work to go home and arrange travel plans for the upcoming funeral.
Borrett said she inspected the dog after the surgery and saw Rubi with the bandage on her leg, but she did not think to look underneath the bandage to see if the IV was left in.
“I can’t blame anyone. I didn’t check it,” she said. “Let’s figure out what we did wrong and fix it. I’m human. Mistakes happen.”
Although Borrett said the death in her family is not an excuse, she wishes she would have been able to stay at the office to speak to Chapman directly about the other complications leading up to surgery.
Aside from the one incision made during the procedure, two other cuts on Rubi’s stomach came from dull clipper blades used to prep the dog for surgery. The teeth on the clippers were not aligned properly, Borrett said, so she immediately disposed of the device.
“If you cut someone, that’s a big deal. You should not be cutting dogs,” Chapman said. “I was in tears.”
“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Borrett said. “I was amazed because that’s not what the dog looked like when she went home.”
Borrett said she saw pictures of Rubi’s injuries online, looking much worse than before. The veterinarian said she believes the injuries became worse because Rubi started licking her wounds.
“She had the cone on. She’s never taken the cone off,” Chapman responded. “I hung up on her because she kept trying to tell me that it was Rubi’s fault. That Rubi was too active. That she wouldn’t hold still. You’re blaming my dog? For your mistakes?”
Both Chapman and Borrett agreed there should be some sort of “checklist” for any dog that leaves the office after surgery. Borrett said that is one of the changes she will be implementing moving forward to prevent mistakes from happening again.
“I don’t want my dog to be a test dummy. I just want the best vet. I don’t care how much it is or where it is. I want the best vet for the dogs, and I thought that’s what I was getting,” Chapman said. “I don’t want my money back. I don’t. I don’t care about my money. I care about other dogs going in and hopefully not getting what I got.”