My tolerance for idiots is at an all time low. Could it be the unbelievable amounts of work that land on my desk each day? This crushing grind of work resulted in a most unpleasant middle-of-the-night exchange with my newest “Most Despised Business in Washington D.C.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, pet owners of all ages, I present to you, Friendship Animal Hospital: A Case Study in Complete Incompetence and Price Gouging!
Details details. Thora was sick. Sick as in, crapping blood and vomiting blood. When Mr. X said, “You’re going to have to break down and call the vet,” I decided maybe he was right. I had been trying to not call the vet for every little thing, but Thora was even yacking up water. So I went to Friendship Animal Hospital at 11:00 p.m. one night last week.
They deemed Thora a “serious emergency” and took her in right away for vitals and some other tests. The tech was very communicative and came out to tell me she was definitely sick (duh) and the doctor would call me after he saw Thora.
12:15 a.m.: The doctor comes out. He looks to be about 14 years old. I hate when vets are younger than me. He asks all the same questions I answered at the front desk AND with the tech. Doesn’t anyone talk to anyone else here? I’ve told this story three times already. Then, he starts telling me that she needs to be on blah blah iv fluids, blah blah, has to stay overnight, blah…then a vet tech bursts into the room.
12:17 a.m.:”Doctor. We have a dog that just went under and we need you.”
12:17 6 seconds a.m.: The doctor says he’ll be back in a minute and rushes out. Time passes. Lots of time.
12:20 a.m.: Texting the hostess. “Fuckers left me in the room.”
12:25 a.m.: Texting anyone: “I think Thora’s gonna die.”
12:30 a.m. Thinks to self: Where the fuck is he? Vet tech number 6 comes out and says the doctor is going to be five more minutes. I said, “Well, he told me Thora needs to stay so I should just go home and get some sleep.”
12:33 a.m.: Thinks to self, Why couldn’t E be here this week so that she could have come with me and bitched them out?
12:35 a.m.: Really pissed. I meander out to the desk and ask to leave. She asks for a deposit. I said, “Well, uh, you have my dog, but okay, I’ll give you whatever you want.” She goes to find out exactly how much they will be raping me for and returns.
12:38 44 seconds, a.m.: “He said he needs to speak with you.”
I protested. I said, “It’s coming up on 1:00 a.m., I need to go home. If Thora isn’t coming, let me go home already and get some sleep!”
At this point, my lack of sleep and my irritation combined to form in my mind an incompetence diagnosis for this place. Everyone I know who brought their dogs here ended up having the dog die anyway. They can’t diagnose anything properly, they just charge the hell out of you until the dog can crawl out of there, dead or alive. I know this. I knew this going in. But I was desperate.
12:45 a.m.: The doctor finally comes out. Might I mention here that there were 6 techs who had put this dog under and it somehow went awry, forcing the doctor to stop his schpeel with me when he was 99% of the way done to go fix what the idiots in the back screwed up? I’m all for prioritizing dog emergencies, but why do I have to suffer at the hands of other’s incompetence? Why are they letting techs put dogs under? Why are there 6 techs back there and they all fucked it up somehow? Why won’t the stupid doctor let me go home and just call me on those things they call telephones?
So he apologizes and I turn into a bitch. I couldn’t believe that they had practically just killed a fucking dog right in front of me, I wanted Thora out of there pronto.
I said I wanted to take my dog home. He says he “highly recommends she stay” overnight. Fighting ensues. As much as I have no confidence in their hospital right now, I can’t let Thora die. Then he returns to get me an estimate for her to stay two nights. Yeah. When he came back with that fucking paper I almost punched him in the face. $1300. ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Uh, yeah, okay. I could fly to Dubai for that kind of money. Asshole. I laughed in his face and said, “For a stomach virus? Give me a break. What are you planning on doing to her for all that money?”
He said something about IV Fluids and how imperative it is that she get re-hydrated then I almost really punched him in the face. Then I said, “So, how much fluid have you put in her now?”
(Let’s do the time. The time was approximately 12:55 a.m. I tell you this so that you’ll know at exactly what hour you realized you wanted to punch him in the face too.)
“We haven’t given her any fluids, yet. We’ll do that when you leave.”
“She’s been here two hours and you say she’s extremely dehydrated and you have yet to give her fluids? What are you waiting for?”
If I wasn’t so concerned that Thora could have died, I would not have left her there. But I did. I get to the front to pay my deposit. The clerk asks if I was okay. She shouldn’t have asked.
1:07 a.m. “NO AS A MATTER OF FACT, I’M NOT OKAY! You guys are notorious for this. You take the dogs in, you charge a boatload of money and then you can’t even come up with a diagnosis and most of my friend’s dogs all died anyway.”
She says, I kid you not: “We don’t kill that many dogs, well, we don’t kill any, we hardly, well this is a good hospital.”
(In my head I started counting the dogs who came here, got a bullshit diagnosis and either died or got better in spite of their encounter with Friendship.)
Yeah. Okay. I said, “I learned my lesson. I will not be coming back here. It was rude of you to keep me waiting when I already knew my dog needed to stay here. It was wrong of you to not give her fluids when she’s been here 2 hours. It’s crap that this bill is going to be $1300 for a stomach flu and the funniest part is you won’t let me go home and I have a job I have to go to in the morning so I can pay your damned bill!!!!”
She goes, again, kid you not: “Oh, you have a job, so it’s gonna be like that.”
I inform her that I’m coming at 7 a.m. to get Thora and she is to be ready because I can’t screw around for an hour. She tells me it takes an hour to check her out, we argue some more and I make her get the doctor. He comes out and I tell him that Thora is to be ready at 7 a.m. He says okay. I leave and say my only vocal swear of the evening, “This is bullshit” as I’m going out the door.
7 a.m. rolls around pretty damn fast when you think your dog is dying at the hands of high school aged incompetents.
I walk in at 7 on the dot and the same bitch who gave me lip the night before is giving me the stare-down from the back room. Some other girl checks me out, asks if I need the records for my vet, I say yes and she hands me a few papers. I left. Thora seems okay, but maybe just happy to see me and happy to not be in a cage anymore.
8:30 a.m.: When I got to work, I’d planned on faxing those papers to my vet. That is, until I read them. They talk about what a bitch I am, and though it is written in ebonics, I can understand the gist of what she is saying. Her version is that I was a cursing cunt and she was perfect and spouted hospital policy to me. Lies lies lies. Someone’s nose is growing on Brandywine.
8:40 a.m.: I called the hospital and left a message in the Manager’s voicemail.
9:05 a.m.: The manager called back. I told her the entire story. Then I said, “And the front desk actually wrote a bunch of lies about me and printed it and gave it to me. So not only will I never come to your hospital again, but I’m telling everyone I know not to.” She was nice and apologetic, but who cares? They deserve a boycott. Or just to come up in some google searches about what a horrible hospital they are.
I’d like to think I’m helping that along…one post at a time.
Updates I found on Yelp from Michelle’s suggestion:
“According to DCRA records, Friendship has been quite prolific in racking up complaints. When the newly constituted veterinary board met in November 2003, there were eight complaints waiting for its review. Of the eight complaints, five involved veterinarians at Friendship, which is a high-volume clinic. An investigation in 2001 also found eight people practicing veterinary medicine at Friendship without a license. Glassman is quick to mention that there were “mitigating circumstances,” pointing out that the board concluded that those offenses weren’t actionable ones.”
Article illustrates all the claims against Friendship, then the DCRA review board which was disbanded until 2003, then reconvened with full members. One of their board members, a Jay Merker, was a vet with Collins Animal Hospital and had received several complaints against him as well. All in all, the article says that the district’s animal services are horrible.
“In the seven times that the board has met since 2003, Merker’s name has come up four times. Chris Runde, chair of the Maryland vet board, can’t think of any sitting Maryland board member who has drawn a consumer complaint. Says Runde: “That would be an uncomfortable situation.”
Unfortunately, in D.C., it’s a relatively common one, too. And when Merker is named in a complaint, it forces the board into an interesting bureaucratic dance.”
Holy crap. Is Thora doing okay?
They suck. All vets in DC suck, but they were the worst (OK, maybe a tie with Adams Morgan vet). You should post this on yelp, citysearch, where ever else people will read this. Bullshit service should be punished. Oh, and you should throw a flaming bag of dogshit on their porch. Appropos, no?
Keep the flaming bag of poop for someone more deserving & be sure to keep those papers! Your local agency that licenses Vets would be a much better place to turn to. It really doesn’t matter human or animal, definiteive care is to be given as soon as it is needed. Waiting over two hours doesn’t sound reasonable, given the number of staff (vet techs can start IV’s) and Thora’s condition at the time. I hope she’s doing better.
File a formal complaint-that usually does the trick when it comes to straightening out their priorities. The paperwork is proof of bad intent. I don’t have an Opinion on cost, other than it does sound high. Have you thought about Animal Medical Insurance? Ask around, there are a couple of good ones out there.
OMG, you should have called me first. I could have told you, hands down, to avoid that place. Stay away! Stay away! Stay away!
Stay away! Stay away! Stay away!
My cat died there last year. The lady who helped me check him in was nice enough, but, they kept me there for hours filling out paperwork when all I wanted to do was go home and finish crying my eyes out.
I was miserable that I couldn’t get him to his regular vet in Rockville.
I’m glad Thora’s okay.
I can’t ever go back there again.
I used to work part time at a emergency animal hospital in the burbs — they gauge the hell out of those estimates and half the stuff the animal doesn’t need.
i hope thora is better, but yeah there is only one decent vet at Friendship the female that works there, however I believe she out on maternity leave.
IV Fluids do not cost 1300 bucks – sigh I hate the way veterinary medicine is getting.
Damn…that was frustrating just to read. I know how it is having a pet you care about being placed in the hands of someone you suspect to be incompetent.
This is pretty much the antithesis of the animal hospital experience I had recently at Columbia Pike. My dog was delinquent in a couple of boosters so it wasn’t anything like an emergency, but the doctor himself called me 2 days later to ask how the dog was doing and whether I had any questions. In all the vet experiences I’ve ever had, that’s the first time that’s ever happened.
MG – It’s been a rough week. She seemed okay for the four days following the hospital, but she’s not back to normal in terms of her bodily functions. This morning was the first sign of possible recovery – but I’m continuing the chicken and rice and hoping she’ll get there.
Michelle – Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going to look into posting on Yelp and Citysearch today. You know…I hardly hear anything about Adams Morgan vet anymore, I wonder if they finally closed up shop.
Wild Bill – The oddest part is that if they took her right away because it was an emergency, then deemed she was severely dehydrated – why wait for that long to put her on IV fluids? I do have the papers. My lawyer (cough, Dad, cough) said to keep them…just in case.
SS – I forgot. I’ll keep that in mind.
MA – See? You’re another one now. The people with Friendship disasters are coming out of hiding. We must join forces and malign their name!
Zipcode – I had a friend who worked for the Equally as Wretched Negola’s Ark in Rockville / Gaithersburg. She said the same thing – they do 100’s of things the animal doesn’t need. They’re another vet who need a good lashing. What they did to my poor Sammy, ugh. A story for another day.
Metro Man – The worst part with animals is that they can’t talk to you. They can’t tell you where it hurts or if they feel okay or really horrible. That’s how the vets can take advantage. At least with a child, it can tell you where it hurts thereby ruling out tons of unnecessary testing.
I66 – The good vets are around, but few and far between. I was spoiled because my first vet for Sammy and Thora was the most wonderful Dr. Bostick in Atlanta. It went all downhill from there, until now, – we go to Georgetown Veterinary Hospital. He is very much like our vet from Atlanta.
What a fucking WHORE!!!! Oh my GOD. I can’t believe that bitch. You’re goddamn right you wish E was there. If I had been there, we’d have been in and out in 15 minutes, and that slut would’ve shut her fucking face because I would’ve laid a beat down on her ghetto ass.
Bitches. FUCK. Poor baby Thora, Auntie E is here to take care of you now!
I think a lot of emergency vets (and emergency rooms!) are like that. People like to take their animals (and go to their normal doctors!) because of the quality of care that they get. In the emergency places, you’re just a number, and you have limited alternatives. So, you either sit there and quietly suffer through the crappy care, or you speak out to useless, stupid staff who don’t care and label you a troublemaker — and either way, you wind up dissatisfied.
More importantly, hope your puppy gets better.
I know it’s a hike for you, but I’ve had excellent experience with South Paws, just outside the Beltway in Fairfax (off of route 50). Very professional, always compassionate. http://www.southpaws.com.
What is uncomfortable about a board member being the subject of a complaint? Just being on the board doesn’t exempt you from the 3 ity-s: responsibility, accountability, and i’mgonnakickyourassifyoufuckwithmypetity.
When someone on the board is complained against, they become just like everyone else.
Why is it that people seem to have such limited tolerance for animal emergency hospitals when they operate EXACTLY like human emergency rooms. It’s first come first serve unless the situation is more serious. I’m not sure what you mean by a dog went “under” that kept you waiting. Perhaps it was a patient in the hospital who just stopped breathing. Don’t you think that this would take precedence over a pet who’s vomiting and has diarrhea? Wouldn’t you want the same immediate response if it was your pet?
Your soapbox is certainly making a lot of assumptions (i.e, idiots screwing up back there) when it is my guess that you had no idea what was going on “back there” and were only concerned for your pet’s health. And regarding your pet’s health: at first you say you waited until the last minute to call the doctor (and are now blaming others that your pet didn’t get fluids for 2 hours) and is now on it’s deathbed but later describe your pet as having the “stomach flu”.
When it comes to your pet, emotions are strong, including myself. However, use better judgement and try not to let these emotions get in the way simply because you had to wait a couple of hours.
E – A midnight run to Friendship? Come on, not like you have anything better to do!
Dara – Same reason I won’t go to an ER unless I’m dying. And even then…
Juju Bean – Your comment prompted me to call them. I’ve been there before and had a great experience. I didn’t know they are 24 hours, but, THEY ARE! OMG!!! YAY!
I66 – More research yielded some interesting findings. At least I know I’m not the only one who came to the Friendship-sucks-ass conclusion.
Jen – Perhaps a class in reading comprehension is in your future? Because it’s certainly not in your past. The part about the dog going under was that the vet techs sedated him/put him under, then fucked something up, thereby pulling the doctor away from me. I never said that this pissed me off – I was mad that the techs clearly didn’t know what the fuck they were doing if there were 6 of them (glass rooms at Friendship) and they had to call the doctor. So the doctor wouldn’t let me go home. Why? Because he was an arrogant prick. He didn’t have anything further to tell me but made me wait 30 minutes to find that out. I ALREADY knew she had to stay overnight. And the hours until my job was going to demand my presence were ticking away. I have no qualms about their response. Perhaps you should read again instead of commenting like a little cunt on something you barely comprehended.
Re: your assumption that I didn’t know what was going on – see above: GLASS ROOMS. I could see it all. So, go fuck yourself. What happened at Friendship has happened to dozens, probably hundreds of people. So for you to claim that it was “emotion,” again, see: Go fuck yourself. Cunt.
Jen’s a bitch. I haven’t talked to her in years. She was last seen sipping from a jug of nasty cunt juice in a back alley off of Hollywood Blvd. She’s been a shoot-up junky since 1992. She hangs out a Kinko’s during the day to stay out of the L.A. sun and to rest before her nights of prostitution. Hops on someone’s computer when they go to the bathroom and charges her illiterate comments to their account. Don’t tell her where I am. I never want to see my whore daughter again. Her grandfather, who was her first husband, may take her in. But I doubt it. She dropped out of school in the third grade, btw.
Jemma’s cat died there, and so did mine….thousands of dollars later. Never again.
Jen’s mom is awesome. As for Jen – I think we should track her down and pump some fluids into HER. Velvet, you are good at tracking folks down. Let me know what you find.
Love to Thora. Poor bean.
And I think Friendship is a ‘Teaching Hospital’. I shudder to think of the vets produced by that hellhole.
One more thing I forgot: Jen has an obsessive compulsion to collect bloody tampons. I went in her room once when she was 15 and found 56 blood-soaked Tampax spread out on her dresser in a weird Stonehenge-like formation. I’ve found them in her shoeboxes, Kaboodle, and nightstand. They’re all bloody. Soaked, sometimes hardened and caked when the blood dries. Who know what she does with them. I consulted a shrink once who said she may be using them as a pacifier replacement, sucking on them to fall asleep at night. My daughter is OBVIOUSLY very disturbed mentally.
I can’t write anything close to the hilarity of Jen’s Mom, but I can say that NO ONE FUCKS WITH THE BEAN! Poor Thora BEAN and poor Velvet! I hope you are both doing well and do not relent on your assault on that facist nazi animal hospital (and Jen) until that place is closed!
Meet Cleveland, my 10+ cat. A few years ago, Clevelan started showing signs of what I thought to be the development of diabetes. Reversible in cats, Friendship started Clevelan on twice-a-day insulin shots which the poor guy endured for about 6 weeks. He didn’t improve, but he seemed OK with life in general. Then, one night as he was walking toward me, his wobbled. I thought maybe he stepped on a dog toy, or just misstepped. For the next 24 hours, this wobbling continued. I took him back, explained the history and his new symptoms. After waiting and waiting, I am told he has a super rare brain stem disorder. When I asked what this had to do with diabetes, the doctor suggested that a misdiagnosis was probable. So, after torturing my cat for weeks, I put him down right there, on the spot. They look surprised when I asked them to suit up and put the poor thing out of his misery. I said I wanted it done right then and there, because he’s not going to go out not being able to walk. They handed him to me in a blanket. I took off the blanket, put him on the floor so he could go out on his feet. He took about 3 steps and starter to teeter, so I caught him and handed him back and said “do it.” The end.
Another time I took my dog in for routine shots. After the shots, the tech said “If he vomits or acts strangely, bring him back in? What? In all of my 40 years of liviing with pets, the only thing shots did was make our pet tired for the rest of the day. Vomit? What? Anyway, I took him home and started to ask around in forums such as this one, and learned from other FAH clients that they overmedicate, overmedicate, overmedicate, and that the techs warning was due to just that fact.
I have since moved to DuPont where the rates are MUCH better, the care is very good, and the approach is conservative in comparison to FAH. When my animals leave DuPont, they get better, every time.
Stu – I used to go to Dupont, but every time I settled on a doctor they would leave. They have had some good docs there, but I have to wonder if the practice isn’t good enough that the good ones all leave. I now go to Dr. Morgan in Georgetown and let me tell you: THE BEST. The absolute best. When in doubt, see him. He’s honest and above board, and he knows his stuff.
I’ll call the little vet out…DR. Faggiano. I think that is how you spell it. Angus and i met him and i thought he was a preschool asshole from moment one. I now make an appt and make it clear that i will not see him…every time i call. Then when i go to my appt i find a way to tell whatever vet i see what a jerk he is. He has the personal caring skills of a gnat.
Last summer when our dog got sick with a stomach flu – vomiting water, severely dehydrated, uncontrollable diarrhea..we took her to the emergency animal hospital down on King Street in Virginia. Our vet on Capitol *recommended* FAH … i thank jebus we didn’t take her there.
Hope your pup is feeling better though!