We are shocked and in disbelief by what we experienced at New Bolton Center. They euthanized our family pet without our permission, and now they’re harassing our family for charges to which we never agreed.
In January, 2017, our pet Cashmere goat, B’Elanna Parrish, required medical attention. My wife called New Bolton Center, and she was told to schedule an exam and that if surgery was necessary it could cost between $1,500 and $2,000. By the time we arrived at New Bolton Center, B’Elanna’s condition had rapidly deteriorated; she was urinating astonishing amounts of blood. Dr.
Janet Johnson and assistants Dr. Hope Douglas, and Dr. Hinton examined B’Elanna, and told us that she had a massive uterine tumor and they sent us to a waiting room. Dr.
Douglas met us in the waiting room. Although Dr. Johnston had been pushing to perform surgery, Dr. Douglas conveyed to us that this was likely the end of B’Elanna’s life.
She told us that they could “open her up” to look at the tumor and that if it was too large for surgery to remove it, they would not charge us anything beyond our deposit. We agreed, we paid the deposit by credit card, and we were sent home. Later that day we received a phone call from Dr. Johnston who told us that the tumor was indeed too large for surgery to remove, and that she had put B’Elanna to sleep.
While that may have been our ultimate decision, we never had the opportunity to say goodbye, and she never should have euthanized our pet without our okay! Around a month later, the New Bolton Center billing department began calling us to demand payment of $1,600 beyond our deposit to which we never agreed. For eight months the threatening phone calls went on; and for eight months we called Dr. Johnston, but not once did she ever return our calls.
Finally, a few weeks ago, we made contact with the Hospital Director, Dr. Barbara Dallap; and this is where the true nature of this rinstitution became evident. In our 35 minute phone call, Dr. Dallap spoke at length about the hospital's purported financial problems.
Then she went over the medical case notes which we discovered were full of inaccuracies. Her notes state “surgery revealed an extensive uterine tumor”; but in fact the tumor was discovered by ultrasound within about 20 minutes of our arrival. (We were there in the room!) Her notes state that Dr. Johnson discussed price with us; but actually it was Dr.
Douglas. When I questioned the validity of her notes, she admitted, “There are plenty of times we didn’t document a case properly, but yours was not one of those times.” Plenty of times medical files are documented improperly??? Upon further questioning, I discovered that she had not even taken the time to speak with each of the three vets involved to find out what actually happened. She seemed more preoccupied with her own liability.
Then, Dr. Dallap actually tried to convince me that we had misunderstood Dr. Johnston when she called to tell us “we put B’Elanna to sleep.” She said, "what Dr. Johnston meant was that B’Elanna was sleeping." (Seriously!?) I pointed out that doctors don’t say “we put her to sleep” when they mean “we anesthetized her”; and I told her that no matter her financial problems, she is trying to collect money beyond what we were quoted.
She cited the estimate we received like it was something more than an estimate, she called our late pet “property”, and she referred to her collections attorney. In the end, she said that she’d consider all the facts and follow up with me, but that never happened. Shortly after the conversation, Dr. Dallap wrote by e-mail that she, the Hospital Director, was powerless to make a decision about our account; and that she had turned it over to her attorneys.
In other words, in eight months, we were not been able to reach a single person at New Bolton Center who has been willing or able to take responsibility for this billing error, not even the Hospital Director. Our pet B’Elanna was a member of our family and we brought her to New Bolton Center for medical care. Dr. Dallap and her team were supposed to prevent suffering.
Instead, what started as a simple billing error turned into a continuing conversation at our home that ends in tears more times than I care to remember over the course of eight long months. We were going to forget about not having been given the choice to euthanize our pet, but clearly that error is symptomatic of much deeper and troubling problems at the New Bolton Center. I've been honored in my life to receive official citations for my service; and I’m trying to do the right thing now; but I feel like I’m up against a Goliath.
For my family and for the public interest, I’d appreciate if anyone reading this would please tell Hospital Director Barbara Dallap to take some time to review her medical file notation system and billing practices, and to stop her despicable legal action against my family. Nobody should have to experience this horror after losing a pet.
Product or Service Mentioned: Penn Vet Pet Medical Service.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Preferred solution: Full refund.