Ethicists’ commentary on Cooperation in the veterinary field and emergency care practices
Ethical question of the month, April 2023
On a Friday morning, a patient is presented with a mild fever and has been acting depressed for a few days. Radiographs reveal a pointed, metallic foreign body lodged in the esophagus. Removal via endoscopy is elected as treatment, with 3 facilities within the province offering this service. Two of these adver- tise as 24-hour clinics. However, 2 clinics have no doctors to perform the endoscopy, and the third clinic advises that there may be a delay of a few days. We understand the staff shortages everyone is facing and recognize that boundaries are needed to protect team members. But it seems we are reaching a point at which clients can’t access timely care. It is common in our region that 24-hour facilities are short-staffed for DVMs, even though general practice facilities in the larger centers rely on these clinics for emergency service. When the 24-hour facilities are short-staffed, rather than organize coverage among the city clinics, it appears that they “allow” the on-call duty to fall on surrounding, already overworked rural practices that still offer emergency service. Have we lost the ability to cooperate with our colleagues for the good of each other and our clients?
Clare Palmer, Peter Sandøe, & Dan Weary comment on this dilemma and you can read it here: Ethicists’ commentary on Cooperation in the veterinary field and emergency care practices (pdf)