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.”