Thank you to the very special Doctors and Technicians on the VSEC team in caring for our dog throughout her emergency visit, surgery, and recovery. I would write this letter even if our outcome was disappointing and heartbreaking. Thankfully, our outcome was positive and joyous; but you should know how deeply we appreciate the quality of care and professionalism we experienced.
Lily, our 9yr old pug, arrived at VSEC on Saturday, July 27, 2013 via an ambulance from Indian Walk Veterinary Clinic, intubated with oxygen and sedated. Dr. Pachtinger was waiting outside the hospital (along with a technician) to immediately receive Lily and begin evaluating her condition. He introduced himself, quickly welcomed us in, and then ran off to tend to Lily. Within a short period of time, he provided an initial diagnosis, in the process explaining his background and similar case histories which he had seen. However, he was clear that the diagnosis was an initial assessment. He listened to our questions and our challenges, and he allowed us to convey as much information as we thought could be relevant.
As the diagnosis evolved throughout the day, Dr. Pachtinger continued to check in with us and he was up-front in revising the diagnosis. With each development, he provided information clearly along with possible options and next steps. When the final diagnosis determined that Lily needed very serious and costly emergency surgery, Dr. Pachtinger was sincere and compassionate when raising the possibility of considering euthanasia as an option. As we discussed what to do, he entertained my direct question as to how he would handle the situation personally and he was frank in his response. Dr. Pachtinger’s optimism that the situation could be effectively treated and resolved made our decision for surgery easy. Dr. Pachtinger allowed us to see Lily one last time, to wish her luck in her surgery, and we left at peace and confident in the ability of the VSEC team to get Lily through this situation successfully.
Our interaction with Dr. Agnello was equally pleasant and reassuring. Dr. Agnello was immediately personable and warm in meeting with us and gave us a sense of her positive excitement of “let’s get this done,” and “Lily’s gonna be great,” attitude. After the late evening surgery, Dr. Agnello called us with a timely update, providing a quick outlook for what we could expect in the coming hours and days. Her positive energy was contagious and uplifting.
In the following days, we received detailed updates on Lily’s condition from Dr. Pachtinger, as well as Dr. Durkan. Our family was scheduled to depart for vacation to California for 10-days less than a week after Lily’s surgery which would have left her stranded in the care of a family member. Dr. Durkan understood our situation and was able to make arrangements to medically board her at VSEC, for which we are extremely grateful.