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Cease and Desist, Dr. Keating. You are not qualified to practice VETERINARY Surgery

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#myprofessionisnotahobby

As ALL veterinarians know, practicing veterinary medicine and surgery is a privilege. Not a right. And Dr. Keating does not have that privilege, nor a veterinary license. 

Dr. Keating and his crew of human surgical resident students (including Dr. Patrick Hansen) are massacring animals in the name of rescuing and “helping” them. 

Dr. Keating is a HUMAN orthopedic surgeon. He is qualified to treat only a single species, humans. He is not qualified in any capacity to practice surgery on animals. Yet it is legal because he adopts/BUYS animals from shelters so they are his. This is the legal loophole that is allowing this to happen. Animals are property. And he has a vet “in the room”...a vet who is not trained in orthopedic surgery and who is not qualified to perform these orthopedic surgeries, let alone supervise them.  Dr. Keating also admits to allowing his human surgical residents to practice surgery on these animals. This is completely unethical and not even a privilege veterinary students, interns, nor veterinary surgical residents are allowed.  

This type of unethical behavior drastically undermines and devalues a REAL veterinary surgical education, which takes a minimum of five years AFTER completion of the typical four years of veterinary medical school to achieve. That’s a total of a minimum of 13 YEARS of college to become a veterinary surgeon. 

Veterinarians are taught species differences because tiny differences in species’ anatomy and physiology can make the difference between healing and not healing, between life and death. Humans treat only one species and are NOT taught species differences. Most humans doctors are innocently ignorant to the fact these differences even exist; they don’t know what they don’t know. Almost all veterinarians have stories of human doctor clients trying to treat their own pets and failing miserably; giving medications pets can’t take; giving incorrect doses because of their ignorance.

However this doctor is allowing his resident students to practice on these animals. On their website www.surgeonsforstrays.com which has been taken down in the past 24 hours (as has their FB page), they proudly advertise horrendous postop radiographs, radiographs  that any veterinarian or veterinary surgeon should cringe at, and repairs that would cause them to likely be taken to the state board if they were to perform. But animals are property, and he owns them. 

Take the repair of the nonreduced radius and ulna fracture they have proudly displayed on their website. Perhaps this is an adequate repair in the human world, even if the fracture was reduced appropriately. However in the veterinary surgical world, we are unable to request that our patients not use their arm for 2-4 weeks, and this type of repair is not at all appropriate in this location - on bones that are known to have low soft tissue protection and this decreases blood supply to assist with healing. These bones are notorious for creating nonunions. Instead, our repairs and coaptations must be strong enough to withstand our patients using the limb immediately postoperatively. Dr. Keating would know this information if he was actually trained to practice on animals. 

His website also depicts surgical procedures that do NOT meet the minimum standard of care. Orthopedic surgical procedures being performed without sterile gowns. No amount of antibiotics can make up for the lack of sterility. 

The veterinarian that is “in the room”, Dr. Goode, who also legitimizes this unethical behavior, is obviously not trained in orthopedic procedures, which means he also does not have the knowledge of the advanced analgesia techniques typically associated with these invasive orthopedic surgical procedures, such as focused local nerve blocks, epidurals and multimodal analgesia, nor has he been trained in postoperative care.

There are many collaborations between human and veterinary surgeons, which should be celebrated as they learn from one another. Dentistry, Zoo Medicine, Lab Animal Medicine, however these collaborations are typically occur under qualified veterinary supervision, and without such substandard care.  

In an interview, Dr. Keating states that he does these surgeries on animals because, “This enables me to keep doing people. Because, you know, you get beat up doing people. You have lawyers, hospital admins, federal government, state government, Medicare, Medicaid. You feel like they're all against you. Here, we're just taking care of hurt animals.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if those of us that actually work in this profession had such a luxury to just take “care of hurt animals”? Instead, we also have these identical stressors working with animals. We deal with owners that think we are money grubbing, along with their lawyers, we deal with malpractice insurance, pet insurance, state and federal governments -just in the same way human doctors do. However, in addition, we have to deal with euthanasias on a daily basis, we have to act as counselors to our clients, because that is the expectation that has been set, we have to deal with untrained human doctors pretending they know veterinary medicine and surgery. 

Lets compare Dr. Keating’s likely $500,000 to $1,000,000 annual human orthopedic surgical salary to that of an average veterinarian making less than $100,000 per year (*maybe* a little less than double that figure for board certified veterinary surgeons).  Veterinary medical school is, at best, an equivalent cost compared to medical school, with most veterinarians graduating veterinary medical school with a minimum of about $200,000 in student debt. 

All of these reasons are why the veterinary profession has one of the highest suicide rates of any profession. Veterinarians are twice as likely to commit suicide than the general public. Women veterinarians are 3.5 times as likely to commit suicide than their male counterparts. We make less money, work longer hours, have higher student debt, and the general public routinely sees us as “money grubbing” because we have to be able to afford our bills and if we don’t provide free services, we “must not love animals.” Every veterinarian has heard those words at some point. 

Perhaps if Dr. Keating would like to help, he can take some of his large annual salary and find one of the many willing veterinary surgeons that provide discounted services to rescues, and pay a qualified veterinary  surgeon to repair these pets in an appropriate manner. 

Just because his heart is in the right place does NOT mean he can ignorantly harm animals with his good intentions. 

Dr. Keating needs to cease and desist this perhaps lawful (via a legal loophole) yet extremely unethical behavior. 

My profession, that took 13 years of college to obtain, is NOT a hobby. 

 

Sincerely,

Dustine Spencer, DVM

Practice Limited to Surgery 

 



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