Woman Sues Vet for Malpractice After Her Dog Dies
For Pamela Ferrara, her Shih Tzu Camilla was more than a pet. The 9-year-old dog was loved like a child. Ferrara and her husband do not have other children and they are still grieving the loss of their pup. Now they have filed a lawsuit against Tampa Bay Veterinary for medical malpractice.
Malpractice lawsuits against veterinarians are becoming more and more common in recent years, but they are incredibly difficult for attorneys to prove. Joyce Tischler form the Animal Legal Defense Fund said that it’s very rare for pet owners to recover much in the way of monetary damages in these cases. However, the Ferrera couple are not giving up in their fight to see justice on behalf of their dog.
In media reports, Pamela recalls how much of the couple’s lives revolved around Carmella. She said the dog had a favorite television show and song. They even let the dog eat dinner with them, getting her own hamburger. One of Carmella’s favorite things was getting a “Beggin Strips” treat. She would give the dog one of these treats anytime she left the house. But one day she came home and saw that the treat had not been eaten and Carmella was lethargic.
Pamela took her to the primary care veterinarian where they learned that Carmella had immune mediated hemolytic anemia. Her conditioned worsened and the Ferraras took her to Tampa Bay Veterinary. There, the doctor told them Carmella was in bad shape with only a 40 percent chance to survive. “She ended up having three blood transfusions that week,” Pamela said. “If she started to decline again, Chris and I decided, we were going to take her home and let her pass away at home.”
The dog seemed to bounce back, but the couple remained cautious to monitor her health. They wound up with around $7,000 in veterinary bills, but still didn’t blink when Carmella relapsed three years later. The dog was coughing up blood when they took her back to Tampa Bay Veterinary. This time, the doctor wanted to simply send the dog home. Pamela said they asked for the company president to see their pet, but they were refused. They rushed her back to the primary care veterinarian, but her condition had deteriorated by then. It was too late and Carmella died.
Now the Ferraras have filed a lawsuit against Tampa Bay Veterinary for negligence, loss of income, and severe emotional distress. “It kills me the most, the way she was treated. If she was treated better and they gave her that fighting chance, I would have accepted it,” Pamela said. The couple is seeking an estimated $50,000 in damages from the lawsuit. Pamela said that she was out of work for six months due to her distress over Carmella’s death.
Tampa wrongful death attorney Christopher Ligori said these types of lawsuits are a growing trend in Florida. “We are seeing more and more pet owners who are willing to take the risk to pursue negligence lawsuits against veterinarians.”