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abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

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  • abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

    Hello,
    I have written this letter and intend to send it to someone at the ASPCA and also to the attention of the owner(s) of Heart of Chelsea.
    Can anybody suggest a contact?
    Hopefully nobody will ever experience this...


    To Whom It May Concern:

    This morning I had an unpleasant experience with someone in the vet?s office at Heart of Chelsea. Last night my cat kept me up because he was straining and seemed to be having problems making it to his litter box.

    Today at 9am, I brought him straight to Heart of Chelsea (257 W18th Street) and was told that the next appointment would be at 11am, and when I explained that I thought he was suffering from a urinary track infection, the receptionist told me that I could pay an extra $100 for an emergency visit and get him right in. Since I never heard of such a fee, another staff member came out to confirm it. Even people I?ve asked told me they never heard of this fee and people in emergency rooms at hospitals aren?t subject to any such fee if their illness is life threatening and they need to cut the line ? so I was completely baffled.

    Being scared, nervous, confused and weary from not sleeping, I really didn?t know what to do. The employee then insensitively said to me that she could not guarantee that my cat wouldn?t die if I didn?t pay $100 and check him in right away. Her inhumane scare tactic shocked me and I told her I would take my business elsewhere, and as I walked out the exit she actually followed me through the corridor to the door and screamed to me that I was rude. I told her she was rude to treat a good longstanding client this way.

    Usually when I visit Heart of Chelsea it?s very pleasant and everybody from the front desk to the back rooms are very kind and polite, so it was an enormous stun this afternoon when I went back to confront her and I was told that her name is Dr. Lara Cohen. Someone doesn?t deserve to be a called a doctor, especially of animals, when they can?t even treat people humanely! A trained professional should have a more compassionate vocabulary source and not use the traumatizing word ?die? so freely ? especially without even examining my cat first before blurting such insolent, frightening intimidations.

    It was one thing the way she chased me out, but I still cannot believe that she threatened me that my cat would die over two hours and $100 ? it validated me finding care elsewhere. I have many friends in the neighborhood with pets and I always refer Heart of Chelsea to them. From now I will be using an alternate neighborhood vet and certainly spread the word of how I was treated at Heart of Chelsea today.

    Dr. Lara Cohen should be reprimanded for her behavior and relieved from practice!

    Shocked and Disgusted,
    v

  • #2
    Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

    Wow, V! I'm sorry to hear that your kitty is ill, and I'm also horrified to hear about your experience at HoC this morning. I don't have a contact at the ASPCA but you might also want to file a complaint about this with the Department of Consumer Affairs:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/res...omplaint.shtml

    Heart of Chelsea is also registered with the NYS Veterinary Medical Society, and you might want to think about calling them, although I don't know if they take complaints:

    http://www.nysvms.org/

    I'm not a fan of Heart of Chelsea myself. I had a bad experience with them when I took my critters there three years ago, and I got the same vibe you did: that the vets weren't all that nice and they were far more interested in my pocketbook than caring for the cats. I've never heard of a vet trying to charge an extra $100 to see a cat in a life-threatening situation...at every vet I've ever been to (except HoC apparently) animals in need of fast treatment are always rushed right in with no questions asked. Here's my post on HoC:
    http://chelsea.clickyourblock.com/bb...highlight=vets

    Good luck--I hope your cat is feeling better! I hope you were able to get him to another vet? --Alex

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

      What an insensitive, cold-hearted troll that woman is. I hope your kitty is okay.

      How absolutely horrible to prey on the desperation of a dedicated animal lover. I wish I could slap that woman right in the face. She's probably so high on her horse that she doesn't care who she offends. She shouldn't be in such a position. Sickening!



      Well, if anything, I know where I won't take my cat if something should happen to him.

      (Fast forward to me getting chastised for promoting violence against bitchy vets)
      www.shardsofglass.etsy.com, www.shardsofglassmosaics.blogspot.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

        Hi Chris and Alex,
        I should probably mention that I left out a few expletives in my story that I told her before I left, but that was provoked by her - telling me to pay up or die.
        We ended up going to Dr. Ficarra on 19th/9th, and she was very sweet and caring for my kittie - she even tried to hook him up on a date with a female feline hanging out in the office
        Thanks for the links!
        V

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

          V, so sorry to hear about your morning. that's so incredibly frustrating. i know West Chelsea Vet is a bit expensive (i don't know how much more than others), but i've been going there for six years because i've always been impressed and at peace by the level of care, starting with reception on up the line. the few times i popped in for what were minor emergencies, we've never had to wait long (and no emergency fee). sure hope your cat is feeling better.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

            I'd recommend West Cheslea Vet also---they have their new place on 26th and 8th. They are a bit expensive, though I don't think much more than any place else in this hood. And the doctors are always thorough, the reception knows you by name, they call to check in later, are always reachable for questions, etc. Just worth it, in my opinion.

            Sorry you went through that horrible experience.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

              Vidis, you did the two best things you could have done so far. You walked out without paying them a dime - that was the best thing. And the second best thing was that you wrote about it here. They'll run across this eventually and believe me, no business wants to get a review like this. So it will hurt. Maybe even more than filing a formal complaint. They know most formal complaints will never be seen by their customers. But this will. So, good job and thanks for letting us know about this. That's outrageous they would try to use an emergency situation to extract more money out of you - pressuring you by saying your cat might die if you don't pay them. How outrageous.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                West Chelsea is awesome, I'm going to third this recommendation. They always take a lot of time with my cats and are really nice. I like them a lot.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                  Dear Vidis,

                  We make every accomodation for clients that have emergency situations. In order to be courteous to our clients that have existing appointments that would be inconvenienced, we charge a nominal extra fee for emergency visits ($35).

                  We strive to make all our clients and patients welcome and at ease at our hospital. We clearly failed making you feel welcome and at ease when you walked into our office.
                  We will make every effort to take your comments into consideration and make our hospital better and more user friendly in the future.


                  Dr. Mark Siebert
                  Medical Director,
                  Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                    Originally posted by Hocah18 View Post
                    Dear Vidis,

                    We make every accomodation for clients that have emergency situations. In order to be courteous to our clients that have existing appointments that would be inconvenienced, we charge a nominal extra fee for emergency visits ($35).
                    l.

                    How is this a courteousy to clients with existing appointments?
                    You split the $35 with them?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                      Originally posted by Hocah18 View Post
                      Dear Vidis,

                      We make every accomodation for clients that have emergency situations. In order to be courteous to our clients that have existing appointments that would be inconvenienced, we charge a nominal extra fee for emergency visits ($35).
                      With all due respect, I agree with Vidis here. That's ridiculous. Unless you're giving that $35 to the "inconvenienced" client, how is that anything other than a chance to get more money from a pet owner who is probably already scared and stressed by their pet's emergency? Not to mention that in most cases, veterinary clinics, like human doctors' offices, never run on time anyway?

                      I've had animals my entire life, and I've never heard of a vet doing this. In all the instances where I've had to take cats to the vet in a hurry, the only thing the receptionists and doctors have ever said is "Get your cat in here and let's help him NOW!" not "Get your cat in here and give me extra money!" Most animal hospitals are set up to handle emergencies.

                      I'm not surprised to hear this from Heart of Chelsea though. I remember how my cats and I were treated when we went there, and how the staff tried to nickel and dime me. I hope that everyone reading this will see that your hospital is only interested in the dollars, not the animals, and stay away.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                        RE: "...our clients that have existing appointments that would be inconvenienced..."

                        If I was waiting for a non-emergency appointment in a physician's or vet's office and someone walked in with an emergency, I would expect to wait for that patient to be cared for. If it was an "inconvenience", I would put up with it.


                        RE: "make our hospital...user friendly"...

                        People do not go to physicians or take their animals to vets as "users". The appropriate term is, I believe, "patient." Your use of that buzz word speaks volumes about your attitude as does your comment that a $35 emergency care fee is "nominal."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                          Thanks, Vidis. Maybe it's time my cat and I made a change. I've been going to HOC for years, but this is troublesome to me. I hope your kitty is doing okay. I've never seen the "doctor" you were referring to. And never will... Thanks again!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                            i must also give a great big reference to west chelsea. they are absolutely fantastic. also, they recommended a 24 hour vet hospital for emergencies - nyc veterinary specialists on west 55th street. i went there when my dog needed stitches late night. they took very good care of him. it was pricey, but my pet insurance took care of most of it, and, like i said, they took very good care of him and followed up on his injury.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                              Oh my goodness, Vidis! I am so angry about this!

                              A few years ago I found a cat in a carrier outside my door on 14th St at 4 in the morning (it was whining so loud, I heard it from my closed window on the second floor). I brought it in the corridor (I am allergic to cats so I couldn't bring it inside my apt) and set my alarm for 8am so I was up to bring it to the Heart of Chelsea medical center.

                              I got up and brought it over there only to be told to bring it to the pound unless I wanted to be charged for a visit (I assume to make sure she was OK). I told her I am allergic to cats and was hoping they had some sort of program for strays. She said they didn't and if I didn't know anyone that wanted to keep it the pound will probably put it to sleep.

                              I was horrified. I left the place thinking I was stuck. It was my first year in NYC and I had no friends yet. I didn't know what to do. I ended up bringing it to the pound on the upper east side and feeling terrible about it for months. I still feel bad.

                              I don't know if it was within their realm to help but she could have been more tactful with the situation. At the least she shouldn't have made me feel bad about not being able to find a home for it.

                              But this is nothing like the situation you went through V. I would have cried right there on the spot and probably threw a tantrum. You handled it amazingly well! At least you found a caring vet to take care of your cat!

                              So far, the vets haven't responded in a manner that would be satisfactory to me and that is truly unfortunate. The state of customer service in this country is the pits. No wonder we are outsourcing all over the place!

                              Comment

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