Eli is a 4.5 pound Yorkie that has likely been abused all his life. He was referred to a foster parent, Michele Hattingh in the beginning of May. His rescuer/foster mom received him with only one eye and a badly deformed hind leg. Dr Cryan who was a vet that took care of her other dogs - Well Care Visits was called to check Eli out. He treated Eli on May 4th for a 2nd degree skin infection, immunized him and then recommended an amputation. Dr. Cryan’s ability to perform the amputation was unfortunately never questioned. Eli had his surgery on May 22, 2013 at a cost of $1526.40. The original amount quoted was $1178.
When Eli was handed over to me, he had no dressing on his newly amputated site. He did have an E-collar on and his belly was crookedly cut from the base of his penis to just below his sternum. I was told that this was needed to neuter him. The amputation was not done at the hip as discussed, but instead it was cut midway through the femur (thighbone). There was no fatty pad over the bone and the sutures were brought together right below the bone. My husband who is a Prosthetist, was quite shocked, but trusted the Dr. and thought maybe dogs amputations are different. What he learned was they are not much different.
Eli was in extreme pain for one week and I mentioned it several times to Dr. Cryan’s Vet Tech Leah. She said to just keep him quiet. My husband bandaged Eli's wound the 1st night home and he did it exactly how he does a humans amputated stump. We nursed him and never left him at any time. He was either in my arms, or in his crate.
I don't remember the date, but about a week later, one stitch and only one, came apart as the very sharp and rough femur bone had begun to protrude through the surgical incision sight. Eli was now in extreme pain. Being a nurse myself, I knew this was a serious problem and there would be a high risk of infection.
I called the emergency number I was provided by the Vet and was told they would pick him up and take him in for surgery. They arrived soon after and took him away. Jessica, one of Dr.Cryan’s Vet Techs, can attest that I was distraught and she promised me she would return him that night.
Rather than getting Eli back that night, Dr. Cryan called to tell me he revised the surgery and that he would feel better if he PERSONALLY took Eli home and watched over him and HE ADDED the words "and of course at no further cost to you". I was overwhelmed by his kindness and agreed to allow Eli to remain with Dr. Cryan that night. I did not know he was married and that he had children (Eli was not happy around children). I was sent videos of the Vets children poking through Eli's crate while he had to sit there and watch. Every day I called Dr. Cryan and was given reason after reason as to why it was in Eli's best interest to stay there.
About 2 weeks later, I spoke Vet Tech Jessica who eventually told me that Eli was not doing well and no matter how many times they asked the vet to do something else he declined. I decided to get a 2nd opinion and called the Life Care Center in Leesburg VA. The surgery center listened to my story and said that their surgeon would speak to Dr. Cryan if he called and perhaps they could discuss ideas on how to get Eli's wound healing (at this time I believed the revised surgery Dr.Cryan said he had done the day they took him, had worked, included removing the excess bone).
When I asked Dr. Cryan to call the surgeon he said it was not necessary as surgeons just want to cut. He promised me he had it under control. Even though I had red flags going up, I was literally in the middle of a home move and I was exhausted, so I CHOSE to trust him. Two days later I started receiving bills from Dr. Cryan. The new bills were in excess of $4000. I was astounded as I had neither expectations nor a budget for a bill of $7000 for Eli’s medical care! I called the vet about the amount of the bills and he said he charged fairly, I told him I was picking up Eli the next day.
Since I have other dogs at home, and I was very emotional about this issue, my husband said he would pick up Eli which was a two hour trip. When he got to the so - called “surgical center”, he was quite shocked to see it was more of a 'garage type storeroom' where they parked their mobile vans, there was no surgical center. Eli was being kept in his crate. My husband immediately saw Eli still had a large gaping wound. His foreskin was pulled back and his glans looked swollen and red and dry and the skin on his belly was pulled very tight. Eli also had a bad eye infection (the vet says Eli did that himself by bumping against the crate). John sat down with Dr. Cryan and told him he was doing everything he could for Eli and that there was still more to be done. Dr. Cryan offered to take over Eli's care for free if John signed over custody on a temporary basis and that would mean he could claim Eli as a charity case on his Taxes. He also negotiated to accept $2000 for the bill. There was a vet tech present during this discussion, which is now apparently not working there anymore, but would not be too difficult to locate if need be. Sadly, John trusted Dr. Cryan and did not read the form and signed it. He did not get a copy and came home without Eli. I was angry and upset and tried to reach Dr. Cryan and even sent him a message that this was wrong and that John made a mistake but Dr. Cryan chose to ignore me.
During the conversation with Dr Cryan, he promised John he would send me daily updates and as soon as Eli was healed he would return him to his 'momma' meaning me. I did not receive any updates for 2 weeks and was really angry at the Dr as well as worried about Eli. By Monday July 8th, I couldn’t bare not knowing anything about Eli’s well being so I called the office and Vet Tech Jessica answered. She was so glad I called and that she answered the phone. She told me Dr. Cryan had given his Vet Techs strict instructions not to call me. Dr. Cryan had also taken Eli's medical chart and locked it away in his office. Jessica told me that Dr. Cryan was not doing anything for Eli and the Vet Tech Leah had taken over his care 100%. She also said Leah was taking Eli home every night and looking after him.
When I hung up the phone, I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I was responsible for this little boy and I had put him in this situation and because of my own trust, I allowed this abuse to carry on. I called and left a message for Dr. Cryan and after 3 attempts to reach him, he eventually called me back and told me Eli was fine. He told me he was mad about things I had written about him on Facebook as well. Even though he agreed I never once mentioned his name or his company, he was still angry and that his attorney, which in fact was his wife, told him he could sue me for slander. I told him if any attorneys were going to be involved it would be for malpractice.
I called back to the office and this time I spoke to the Vet tech Leah who told me she was disgusted in how Eli was being handled and that she had taken over his care. In the meantime, Eli had acquired yet another eye infection. Dr Cryan would not do anything about it, and Leah begged him to let her take Eli to the ophthalmologist, Dr Kelly Corcoran if there was no cost to him and Dr.Cryan eventually agreed Apparantly Eli was done as a charity case for Leah by Dr Corcoran. Once at the ophthalmologists, Eli underwent emergency surgery to save the only eye he had. Now Dr. Cryan is claiming that he was the one that called Dr Corcoran. The Vet Tech told me she was trying to heal Eli’s wound but she had asked Dr. Cryan to have another surgeon do the amputation at the hip. THIS is when I realized Dr. Cryan never did a revised surgery as he had claimed was performed. The bone was now protruding even more through the wound. This is now 6 weeks later and almost 7 weeks after the initial surgery. Eli is still in an E Collar, he still cannot run and play. I demanded Eli be returned to me but Dr. Cryan told me that he would no longer talk with me. He said he would only talk to my husband.
When John called him, Dr. Cryan said he would only give Eli back if I came in and sat with his attorney and signed a document that said I would NOT SUE or bring any action against him. I didn’t feel I could agree to that because I had already reported him to The Commonwealth of VA for misconduct.
On Wednesday or Thursday, Vet Tech Leah called and left a voicemail stating that she was taking Eli home and she was going to make sure the Vet had no access to Eli, as she was worried for his safety. The story ends with me eventually releasing his name on my Facebook page on Friday July 12 and the dog loving members on Facebook being, as passionate as they are, did not leave a stone unturned.
Dr. Cryan has since posted PRESS RELEASES on his Facebook page with totally blatant lies, saying I may have been the one that abused Eli. He also accused me of being responsible for the stitches to break and the bone to come through his wound. This goes on to include him saying he took Eli because I could not afford to care for him and took it upon himself to decide Eli could not be in a home with my two vicious Pitbulls. After I proved he was telling lies, he then claimed there was nothing wrong with Eli and that I was causing trouble. I later released the voice mail recording and the pictures taken of Eli on Friday morning. Dr.Cryan said he took Eli to an independent Vet, Dr Chang for a review and she gave Eli a glowing health record, however never mentioned the protruding bone and now come to find out that she is his friend and a vet specializing in radiology. He then took his last shot yesterday and reported me to the police for harassment. Today I found the surgeon Vet that saw Eli on Thursday with the vet tech Leah and he allegedly told the Vet tech that Eli would not heal without further surgery. Incidentally, I believe the Vet tech Leah has now also been fired and was forced to hand Eli over to Dr Cryan. At this moment I do not know if Eli is alive or dead. He refuses to post any recent photos of Eli despite the numerous pleas in order to have peace of mind that Eli is still alive and doing okay. I have offered to let an independent third party take over Eli's care and I would cover all the new surgery costs. I have even said I will pay the other $2000. But he will not hand Eli over. There are also 2 bonafide VA. rescues offering to take Eli in and get him the medical care he so desperately needs and he has refused them as well. I cannot explain his actions. I have retained an attorney and I will be handing a copy of this to the LEXUS PROJECT for help.
Thank you for reading Eli's story. If you feel Eli needs help please sign this and share it with your friends. You can go to my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/michele.hattingh to see more on this story.
- Attorney General
Dear Attorney General Cuccinelli
10560 Main Street Suite 218
Fairfax, VA 22030
PLEASE Get the Yorkie ELI Bear medical treament immediately.
Eli is a little yorkie, through no fault of his, is caught between a Vet that is afraid of a malpractice lawsuit and an owner that has run out of ideas on how to get Eli proper surgical help to revise a badly performed Amputation.
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