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Vet practices with deceased pets

Early NY Day my beloved pooch had a terrible accident while I was overseas. Her carers found her in the garden very unwell and took her to an emergency vet clinic at 1am in Sydney. It was assumed she had fallen down a staircase but nobody knew for sure and while her injuries were not significant, ie no broken bones, tragically she had heart failure and died before I got back to Sydney. Upon my return, devastated at losing my dog and not being there for her, I visited the vet and asked them for the clinical notes so I could understand what happened. They refused saying they could not release them to me. Unimpressed with this I challenged them and eventually the manager told me that they could not given them to me as “the insurance company won’t let them”. Has anybody else come across this? There was no issue around the care provided and humans can access their medical records, seems irregular that we can’t do the same for pets. Eventually they agreed to send them to my vet who was happy to share them with me and together we tried to figure out what happened based on her injuries. Heartbreaking.

Also interestingly when I was considering cremation options from a very glossy brochure with prices starting at $385 for a ‘scatter box’ and then increasing in price depending on the container. I queried whether I would actually receive my pet’s ashes or a ‘job lot of cremated animals’. Turns out to be the latter, a single animal cremation costs an additional $300. Nowhere was this made clear on the promotional material provided by the vet and I’m guessing most people just assume they are getting their pet.

This isn’t a complaint about the vet service I received, they were did everything they could and kindly arranged for a viewing for me to give me some closure (strange but true and it helped me as she looked so peaceful). Rather I’m concerned at some spurious industry standards.

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I’d say the insurance company never wants clinical notes released, as they don’t want any information given out that could lead to a claim. For example what if the clinical notes showed a misdiagnosis? If the client then sues the vets (regardless of whether it even goes to court) the insurance would have to pay for a lawyer. Not saying this is the case with your vets, just that it would explain the blanket policy from the insurer

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My heart goes out to you. Nothing strange about wishing to view you pet for closure. we did exactly the same.

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