Monday, May 7, 2012

980. Getting a free ride

May 7, 2012

It was past 8.30 pm but Dr Vanessa and Dr Daniel waited for the cat with pyometra. Usually we close at 8 pm. Three young people brought in a cat saying that they had no money to pay for treatment.  

"The owners were honest," Dr Daniel said to me. "They had stated they had no money. They wanted treatment first and pay later."

"Not even $50 deposit?' I asked. "These are the people who want a free ride. I have a few over the years. I remember distinctly one young couple with a Jack Russell requiring emergency Caesarean. They took the puppies back and never bothered to pay me a cent. There is also presently the owner of one old dog in Toa Payoh Vets. He just would not come for the dog for the last two months and did not pay at all. The dog is still there as you can see. Some owners just would not return calls and I had a cat left in my surgery for over 1 month."

There are such pet owners in Singapore but they are rare. This case of announcing "no money" first is just to let the vets know and if they want to treat, they ought to pay from their own pockets. No more free rides in this case.

Vets are supposed to provide free services, according to some people. But there is a limit to what a non-charity can do. Free consultations and free services can be provided for certain cases but not free rides. Otherwise, the practice goes belly up and becomes bankrupt. It does not mean that when a practice is opened, it is sure to be sustainable and profitable over the years if it is poorly managed, as in all businesses. Nobody cares if it goes bankrupt. Employee vets can always work elsewhere but the one who suffers is the proprietor and the proprietor must set the rules to ensure no financial loss as most employee vets don't care about the maintenance of expensive equipment and order the most expensive drugs they feel is best for their image.           

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