by Carrie Jurney DVM DACVIM (Neuro)
I want to be uplifting in this blog, but I got gut punched by my job today.
I know I don't have to explain this to you guys and for the sake of the family's privacy I will not go in to a lot of specifics.
But today I had one of those cases- young, cute dog- who was very very sick. He needed a lot of expensive diagnostics to even figure out what was wrong, and even then his prognosis was guarded. He was having progressive signs. His life was in danger. He was in pain.
I call this nice family to tell them this. I speak to a very polite young woman. She is understandably sad. Her mother gets on the phone and her mother is desperate. They have had some tough stuff happen to them, and this is just icing on the cake. This dog was their light in dark times. Comfort when the world had done them wrong.
They don't have the money for this. Their other troubles have drained their resources. I tell them with all the money in the world it may be that their dog is not fixable. I try to steer them gently to plan b, which at least gives the pup a chance and may work. We can treat for the most common diseases on my hunch and cross our fingers. And just as important it won't leave them in horrible debt if the pup is not indeed save-able. They don't know if they can even afford recheck exams and prescriptions. I tell them that this is a tough scenario, and I will do whatever they want, but euthanasia is also a reasonable choice.
They were polite. They were overwhelmed. They did not scream, nor cuss nor hurl insults like some others do when faced with this situation.
I know. I know I did everything I could. I know I gave them all the the options, and gave them my honest best advice. I know I'm not in charge of their finances. I know. I know that there is no other reasonable scenario for these people and its not kind to send them down a path that they cannot continue on. I know I cannot and should not do things for free, and that I offered them plans at every reasonable cost level.
So, why am I crying? Why do I feel like I just stripped hope and love away from a family who needs it so much.
Some days this job just fucking sucks.
No more veterinary medicine today. I'm going for a walk with my family.
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.