Statement Entered Into Court:
I, Gregory W. Deaver, recognize Dr. Rachel Gilligan incompetent at her role
in managing the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at All Care Animal Hospital for the
My Labrador Retriever, Morgan, was in the care of Dr. Gilligan and Dr. Rooks
at All Care ICU with a terminal nasal tumor that had erupted on September 24,
1997 by abrupt sneezing. Morgan was stabilized at another animal hospital and
then released to the referred All Care for a MRI. While hospitalized at Animal
All Care for two days while waiting to be scheduled in the for the M R I, Dr.
Gilligan primarily managed Morgan's care. On September 26, 1997 my wife and I
went to visit Morgan while in ICU, under Dr. Gilligan's care. While visiting
Morgan, his excitement level elevated, and he started to sneeze continuously for
almost two minutes with Dr. Gilligan present. The sneezing created bleeding that
was released through the gauze-packed nasal cavity, and it was definitely a
critical time to react. Dr. Gilligan presented herself to the situation, as
being very flustered, not knowing which way to turn. She finally located some
type of emergency reference book as if she had no clue how to react. After
fumbling through some pages, she walked off with the book out of the ICU not
acknowledging the present situation. We were left with Morgan bleeding with no
care. I had to run over to a busy technician and stress the situation with him
to get his care. He administered more pain relief drugs to alter the excitement
level of Morgan. Dr. Gilligan came back into the ICU around fifteen minutes
later never addressing Morgan's care and she acted as if nothing had happened.
Later that evening, after Dr. Gilligan located the MRI, she pulled my wife and I
aside to go over the terminal results. Dr. Gilligan stated that she had only a
minute to go over the results because she was very busy. She led us into a busy
hallway with other customers around and gave us the heart breaking news. She
stated that Morgan's tumor was too large to be treated, and he only had two to
three weeks to live. She recommended scheduling an appointment to put him down.
Not being a licensed Oncologist and presented with a stressed environment, Dr.
Gilligan felt comfortable delivering this terminal information. After discussing
Morgan's MRI results with other licensed Oncologists, we concluded that Dr.
Gilligan's statement was totally invalid and at most, an educated guess. Morgan
was treated by radiation at another hospital, which prolonged his life much
further. If we had listened to Dr. Gilligan's advice, we would not have had this
valuable time with him.
Under penalty of perjury in the State of California, the above situation is
Gregory W. Deaver
Letter to All-Care Animal Referral Center dated October 11, 1997:
All Care Animal Referral Center
18449 Amistad Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Dear All Care,
I am writing in reference to the recent statement I have received from you
reflecting a balance due of 5608.80. As I stated on September 24, 1997 when our
dog was dismissed by you, we would be paying only the $950.00 that we were
quoted. We were told in the beginning that our fee would be $750.00 to $950.00.
We were never informed during his stay there that the fees were exceeding this
amount, and there was no informed consent. We were told only at the time of his
dismissal that the new fee was $1558.80. In addition, the service we received at
All Care was so poor, that I was going to be writing a letter to Kathleen
McCleron and Dr. Rooks himself. I will be forwarding a copy of this letter to
them. Let me start from the beginning.
It was Sunday, September 21st when our seven-year-old chocolate lab (our only
child) spontaneously sneezed and as a consequence, almost bled to death until
Dr. Kalthoff, at his Vista location, saved "Morgan." He was wonderful.
He took head x-rays and coagulation panels, stabilized him and referred us up to
All Care in Fountain Valley where nothing but disappointments followed. When we
arrived in the parking lot at All Care, my husband ran in to get help. An
auxiliary came out and handed me, in tears and literally covered in blood with
Morgan in my lap, a clipboard with paperwork to fill out prior to bringing
Morgan in. I could not even write; my hands were shaking so bad. I finally asked
him to please get Morgan back first, and he obliged trying to make Morgan walk,
unsuccessfully. Morgan, a seventy-eight pound dog, was heavily sedated and could
not walk. This was clearly obvious. Astutely, he then retrieved a stretcher.
We then saw Dr. Gilligan who did not see this as an emergency at all, and was
in fact, too casual about the whole thing. She insisted on taking new
radiographs and new coagulation panels even though I informed her that these
were just taken. I brought the radiographs with me, and Dr. Kalthoff said that
the results from the coagulation panels he took would be in the next day with
all of the technology at All Care. She said we would not be charged, and we
were. We left Morgan there and drove back to San Diego heartbroken with no
answers. They were unable to take the MRI or perform a biopsy until Tuesday. We
were also told, therefore, that Monday nights stay would not be charged to us
either since they were just backed up, but we were. WE visited Morgan on Monday
and on Tuesday, and we took him home Wednesday. We never received any calls
updating us on Morgan. When we called, we were almost never able to speak with
any doctors as they were too busy and would have to call us back. Sometimes they
called back, but much later, and we never spoke to the same person. It was so
cold and impersonal. No one knew Morgan's case or what was going on. They did
not even know his name. He was, on the inside, referred to as a number. The
communication was terrible. In fact, on Tuesday night when we went to visit
Morgan who was in I.C.U., as auxiliary brought out the wrong dog to us, another
chocolate lab. There were others in the waiting room to witness this. When I
looked at her in disbelief, she said "Well, I thought you'd like to take
him out for a walk." I said to her, "That would be great, but that's
not my dog, and my dog is in ICU" She said she would be right back. We
waited twenty minutes until we realized they had forgotten about us, so we found
out own way back.
On our visits to see Morgan, we wanted to sit down and talk with a doctor
about what is going on. Everyone was always too busy. Morgan was in a small cage
in a busy hallway when we visited. We were never escorted to a "visiting
room" with any privacy, and these were very emotional visits as we did not
know if Morgan would ever see "home" again. We were crawled over,
LITERALLY, the entire time to the point where I actually crawled into the cage
with Morgan to get us out of the way. It was Tuesday night that we went to visit
Morgan and review the MRI findings. ????????????, therefore Dr. Gilligan with no
time to talk to us as usual, interrupted our visit with Morgan after we just
removed him from his cage (IV's and all) to go over his MRI real fast while she
had "a couple of seconds" available - our only chance. So after Morgan
just "wet" himself two seconds before out of excitement to see us,
which he has never done in seven years, we put him back in his cage,
temporarily. Dr. Gilligan then escorted us to a very busy hallway with no
privacy. She there placed the MRI films up on the view box and, coldly,
delivered the news that the tumor was enormous and probably malignant (biopsy
report not available until Friday). She said surgery was not an option because
you would have to "carve out his whole head." She said Morgan probably
had about two weeks to live, and that radiation, if an option at all (she wasn't
the specialist), probably wouldn't help much. I was in tears in this busy
hallway, and she "had to run" - another patient was waiting.
We, at various times, spoke with Dr. Candletta, Dr. Haddad, Dr. Ankoma, and
Dr. Dhaliwal also. The only one we meet in person was Dr. Ankone, who had
terrible communication skills. In fact, another doctor even verified this fact.
Dr. Dhaliwal was the only person to seem to be familiar with Morgan's case and
have any knowledge or information to convey whatsoever. But again, he was only
in town one or two weekends a month. He recommended radiation treatment. With
all of the disorganization, lack of communication, and contradictions at All
Care, we called the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Rancho Santa Fe days prior
to see if they could shed some light on this issue. They were so helpful. Dr.
Wallack, voluntarily, took the time to call All Care himself for us to try to
"bridge the communication gap." He had about as much trouble as we did
finding out anything. He suggested we see Dr. Richter, an oncology specialist,
for a second opinion once Morgan was released if we would like.
When Morgan was released on Wednesday, September 24, 1997, we were only given
our dog (by an unknown auxiliary) and a bill with an adjoining paper with
instructions on when to take what medications. A doctor was not available to
speak with. This, I find astonishing. Naturally, we wanted to know about home
care instructions, what to watch for, has he received any of his medications yet
that day, has he been fed, and most importantly, is he going to bleed to death
again? Nothing! Finally, after requesting and waiting thirty minutes, a Dr.
Jensen whom we had never seen before was sent out to talk to us. This was
useless as she did not know Morgan, his case, anything about oncology, nothing.
She worked in an entirely different department. This was comforting. In fact,
when she came out, she walked over to a man and his son with their dog and
mistakenly started talking to them until they looked at her in disbelief and
pointed us out to her.
This was how the entire experience with All Care went. The place was a zoo. I
cannot imagine that this is the first time you have been enlightened with such
information. You might have all the equipment, bells and whistles, but the
compassion and communication are severely lacking, and in situations like this,
that is most important. We wanted to meet Dr. Rooks who would be performing the
surgery/biopsy, but he was "untouchable." A simple self-introduction,
a hand-shake, a brief synopsis of what he saw and/or how Morgan did would have
sufficed. This, again, was too much to ask. Dismissing our dog with nothing more
than a bill and written medication instructions was unbelievable. I stated my
frustrations with All Care toward the end, and nobody cared. We were never
informed of the fee's exceeding the estimate of $750.00 to $950.000 which is why
we will not be paying the additional $608.80 you feel we owe. For that matter,
we feel you have some audacity to even charge the $950.00 which we have already
When dismissing Morgan we requested verbally and in writing that the records
and duplications of the radiographs be forwarded to the Veterinary Specialty
Hospital in Rancho Santa Fe. The, themselves, spoke to you and requested this
information as well. After explicit instructions, the time was certainly of the
essence for Morgan. All Care managed to address the MRI to the wrong P.O. Box
number (in fact, to the last four digits of their fax machine). It was therefore
lost in the mail for a week until it was finally found. We have since received a
second opinion from the Animal Specialty Hospital in Rancho Santa Fe where the
quality and compassion, the communication and the time spent cannot be beat.
Morgan is currently receiving radiation treatment elsewhere with a prognosis of
another one and a half to two years.
Clearly, you can see my point. I only hope you can learn from this and
implement change before you go on hurting people who are already in enough pain.
If you have further questions, you may contact me.
Lisa M. Deaver