The May issue's dilemma dealt with a distraught owner who refused to pay following the unexpected death of his cat during a routine ovariohysterectomy. (In Practice, May 2013, volume 35, pages 286-287). Anne Fawcett argued that taking the time to explain what steps were taken in monitoring and addressing complications during the procedure was vital, as clients often don't realise how much effort vets and support staff put into reviving an animal, or how upset they might be when an animal dies in such circumstances. She proposed that, although owners were expected to pay for services rather than outcomes, a possible way forward might be to offer a ‘compassionate discount’; this would show empathy for the client's distress while also being charged in a way that ensured that the practice did not lose money. The vet might also suggest performing a postmortem examination (also at cost), as obtaining a definitive diagnosis could help provide closure for the owner.
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