Asprolee’s Story – AL
My name is Asproolee (it’s a Greek nickname meaning “little white cute thing.”). I was a male toy poodle, very intelligent, and my humans said that I had a heart of pure gold. I was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on December 10, 1994, and I joined the Hale family on January 18, 1995. It was love at first sight! They brought me home in a woven basket, and my mom kept and treasured that basket ! (I didn’t know at the time, but she had plans for it. . . **)
I filled the gap in my parents’ life when my only human “brother” had just moved out—I was their newest child, and they were my parents. My parents worked and are still working for the Department of Defense both in the military and civil service. The government assigned my parents to a lot of overseas assignments.
So we moved from Florida to Europe in 1998—I was 3 years old and had a lot of fun overseas. I met a lot of veterinarians in Europe. These vets took very good care of me. They really didn’t become vets to make money because vets in Europe don’t often have the same number of clientele that their US counterparts have. They entered the field because they either, genuinely loved animals, or they were farmers, with lots of animals to take care of, and gravitated to the field.
I spent the last 5 years in Germany. I really enjoyed that as I got to take long walks with my parents through vineyards and along beautiful rivers. As I got older and couldn’t walk the long distances, my Dad modified a stroller for me and I could ride in that part of the time on these long walks. This was great fun and I still got to go! I was the patient of US Army vets and German vets. Establishing a permanent vet was impossible—because the US Army vets were deployed for 6 months to a year at a time. That’s the reason I had to see German vets, but of course there was a communication problem, so we all were looking forward to returning to the U.S. to place my health care into U.S. vets’ hands.
When I was 13 years old, the Government sent us to Madison, Alabama, and everyone was so happy, especially me! I could finally establish a permanent veterinarian to take care of my minor health problems. . .little did I know!
My mom took me to the Madison Animal Care Hospital, 4044 S. Sullivan St., Madison, AL 35758, in September 2007. We were brand new in Madison, and this hospital was only a couple of blocks from my parents’ temporary living quarters. My parents never checked vets’ credentials. Until then, they never had any reason to doubt them, or a bad vet experience to alert them to checking into vets’ discipline records. (All the vets in Europe and the Army practiced with high concern for merather than money.)
As an elderly pet, I had some problems, and my mom told the vets, Erica Fry and Deborah Armes, at Madison Animal Care Hospital what the symptoms were. They thought I had arthritis in my hind legs and gave me lots of medication for pain, all of it Metacam, which I took for a month. Then my problems got worse. . .They asked my mom to leave me there for 3 days for tests and observation so they could diagnose my problems. . . nothing! They still could not give me a diagnosis, and they referred me to an internist in Birmingham for an ultrasound. The internist, Clinton Lothrop Jr. (not a radiologist), performed and interpreted the ultrasound on Feb 8, 2008, and told my mom that I had an intestinal obstruction which was life-threatening and recommended exploratory surgery. Being cautious and concerned, my folks asked the internist for options other than surgery. He mentioned a barium test.
The Madison Animal Care Hospital took 22 X-rays performing a barium series test on me on Feb 11, 2008. After the test, the Madison Animal Care Hospital vets concurred with the internist, and all recommended exploratory surgery. They told my mom that intestinal obstructions are life-threatening, and I had to have the surgery ASAP. My mom trusted their “professional” opinion. (I don’t blame you Mom, you were doing what you thought was best for me.)
So I was scheduled for exploratory surgery. By this time my weight had dropped from 10 pounds to 8 pounds and I was weak from not eating, nausea, appetite loss, vomiting or diarrhea (side effects of the Metacam the vet prescribed). They finally took me off the Metacam and prescribed Buprenorphine for my pain (This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but the vets never told my parents this! Also, the drug should be avoided in animals with kidney disease, underactive thyroid gland and Addison’s disease.
My parents found this information out later on the internet here: http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/buprenorphine-buprenex/page1.aspx
The surgeon, Tony Ballagas, also in Birmingham and collocated with the internist at Emergency and Specialty Animal Medical Hospital,2864 Acton Road, Birmingham, AL 35243, performed the surgery on February 14, 2008, but he found NO OBSTRUCTION! The internist had misinterpreted the ultrasound, the vets at Madison Animal Care Hospital agreed with his misinterpretation, and I went under the knife for NOTHING except as a prelude to death . . . . I came home on February 18, 2008, and I died an agonizing death on February 21, 2008, only 3 days after my release from the surgeon, and 3 months after I became a patient of these Alabama vets.
As I said, the surgeon released me to my parents on Feb 18, 2008, while I was still sedated, not eating, and having diarrhea. He gave them no prognosis but only asked them to bring me back in 2 weeks for suture removal. He also told my parents to make sure that I ate, as I was not eating while under his care. His prognosis which he was supposed to give to my parents when he released me, he mailed to them 3 weeks after I died and after repeated phone calls from my parents to release to them copies of all medical records he had on me. (My parents are still waiting for copies of X-rays, EKG, pre-anesthetic lab work and surgery and anesthesia reports! ) I was wondering why the surgeon and the internist, to this date, still DENY their request for these records’ to be released. . .
At home, I never felt or acted any better. I was immobile, laying on the couch wondering what had happened to me. My parents would pick me up to take me to the bathroom, but I couldn’t stand on my 4 feet. I would collapse every time! My parents thought that I was still weak from the surgery and that I was going to be getting better… I also refused any kind of food or fluids. My parents tried to force feed me, but I regurgitated everything! The referring vets from Madison Animal Care Hospital NEVER CALLED to ask my parents how I was doing after I returned home. On the evening of February 20, 2008, I had a seizure, and my parents frantically rushed me to North Alabama Emergency Clinic, Inc., 2306 S. Memorial Parkway, Huntsville, AL 35801. The emergency veterinarian there, Michael Lowery, DID NOT PERFORM any diagnostic tests in an effort to find out why I had the seizure. My parents told him that I never had a seizure before the surgery. So, his treatment was to put me in an oxygen cage. He told my parents that if I died during the night, he would call, and he asked my parents to pick me up by 0730 on February 21, 2008.
My dad picked me up on February 21, 0700, and took me home. Before my parents had a chance to take me to a regular vet (my parents fired the referring vets, Erica Fry and Deborah Armes, on February 20, because they did not follow up on me), I went into a coma. My mom called the surgeon, Tony Ballagas, but he was out of town (as usual). So my mom talked to Dr. Milton of the same surgical clinic, who said that he did not know why I had gone to a coma. He faxed the blood test they performed on me before the surgery, the procedure and the biopsy results to Madison Veterinary Hospital, Hughes Road, Madison, AL. My parents rushed me again to this hospital, and Dr. Mixon DID EVERYTHING SHE COULD TO SAVE MY LIFE! However, all my organs had collapsed, andshe could not revive me. . .My heart stopped beating at 3:45, February 21, 2008, and my parents’ hearts broke into thousands of little pieces. . .
That evening my Mom tried to call the surgeon to ask him WHY I died. . . .he was once again unavailable so his associate, Dr. Milton answered the phone. When she asked him, his answer was, “I don’t know, we have to do a necropsy.” So here it was again. . .ANOTHER WAY FOR THEM TO PROFIT—even from my death! There was no way my parents would allow them to touch my body again!
They were in a shock. . .they could not believe that I was dead after two attending vets, a PhD internist, a diplomate surgeon, and an emergency veterinarian MISDIAGNOSED, RECOMMENDED WRONG TREATMENT AND CAUSED MY DEATH thru IGNORANCE, INCOMPETENCE, GREED, AND INDIFFERENCE! I wish I were human—in many states some lawyer would be making a lot of money out of this NEGLIGENCE/MALPRACTICE CASE! But not in Alabama where the state board is made up of vets, controlled by vets and apparently protects vets. (Read the State Board Complaint my parents filed to understand why I have that opinion .)
Email Trail Documenting the Struggle to Obtain Asproolee’s Medical Records