"The Incredible Dr. Pol" Protests Her Innocence Despite Board Discipline (2023)

negligence or breach of duty of care" and "incompetence".

The order states that, as part of the disciplinary measure, Pol is required to take courses in small animal breeding and ultrasound techniques and interpretation. When asked why he needed to take these courses when his only fault was keeping records, upon seeing these regulations, Pol replied, "It blew me away."

Pol's lawyer, Arthur Jalkanen, told VIN that the case came down to a matter of documentation, as Pol could not defend himself against the remaining charges without written documentation.

"If I had a good track record, we wouldn't be in this position," Jalkanen said in an interview today. “As we were taught in law school, if it's not written down, it didn't happen. Apparently, they don't teach that in veterinary school."

The complaint was the first filed in Michigan against Pol, 70, who said he had practiced in the state for 41 years.

The case behind the allegation took place in the spring of 2010, more than a year before "The incredible Dr. pole', a reality show on Nat Geo Wild, a network owned by the National Geographic Channel. The show follows Pol through his workdays caring for cows, goats, dogs, and all the other types of patients that come with a rural mixed-animal clinic.

The show, now in its second season, is the top-rated television show, according to Nat Geo Wild data.TV in Numbers. Die ShowsFacebookThe page shows more than 13,000 likes.

Pol said he assumes the network is aware of disciplinary action against him once such action is in place.publicly available information, but a National Geographic Channel spokeswoman contacted by news service VIN on Thursday said she was unaware of Pol's professional license status.

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The organization did not seem bothered by the news. Spokesman Rajul Mistry issued a statement on Friday reflecting continued support for Pol.

"It is an undeniable fact that Dr. Pol has helped thousands of animals over his 40-year career as a veterinarian. His successful clinic has been in operation for 30 years, where Michiganders have relied on him to help their pets. and sick farm animals. The recently against Dr. Pol's fine relates to an administrative complaint, not misconduct or misdiagnosis. They will see patients regularly and complete a 3-day course with lifting trial within of a month.

Others, upon learning of the disciplinary action, were less sympathetic to Pol.Midland Daily News, which ran an article on Pol's television show last fall, an unnamed reader applauded the Michigan Board's action, writing, "The public should know that this is NOT acceptable grooming."

Several veterinarians, after watching episodes or clips of The Incredible Dr. Pol” expressed similar views in amessage boardthe Veterinary Information Network (VIN), an online community for the profession. (VIN is the parent company of the VIN News Service.)

Many said they were shocked and embarrassed by the haphazard approach to medicine presented on the show: sedated patients being transported in the back of a van, a sedated patient left alone on a table, procedures performed without medical gloves, masks or towels, etc. .

"I am very sad," wrote Dr. Lauren Robins, a practitioner from Texas. "Why can't we follow one of the best?"

"I can't believe this guy has a TV show," said Dr. Richard Selkowitz, owner of a clinic on Long Island, New York. "...We watched the show at our house just because of the embarrassing talk about a train wreck."

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However, some cautioned against being too quick to judge.

"Each of us could be filmed doing our 'big medicine' every day, and it could be edited to look like the opposite," said Dr. Lisa Hoberg, a veterinarian in Oregon. "This show isn't for veterans, it's for the public."

Dr Sharon Shull, who practices in Texas, said, "I watched part of [an] episode last night. 19,000 clients! Some of us may only want a fraction of that number. Regardless, it may be out of date in some ways, but its practice is reality in some areas."

The case for which Pol was punished seems to illustrate the relaxed style of medicine that horrified some of his colleagues.

The formal denunciation ofthe Disciplinary Subcommittee of the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicinegives this calculation:

A German Shorthaired Pointer named Mocha was bred on 30th January 2010 and her owner estimated that she would give birth on 3rd April. The owner, identified only by the initials D.S. was identified, Pol's clinic called three times between April 3rd and 8th to report that Mocha had not yet given birth.

"DS told her not to bring the dog into the facility, that Mocha should be able to care for the puppies herself and let nature take its course," reads the complaint. "A facility veterinarian told D.S. to call the facility on April 9, 2010 if Mocha has not given birth by then. The veterinarian was unable to document the calls.”

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The complaint further states that D.S.'s husband, R.S., called on April 9 to say that Mocha had not delivered the baby; They made an appointment for him at 10 am. He called back a few minutes later to report that the dog had greenish-brown discharge. He was told that the dog could go into labor and was instructed to keep Mocha alone in a quiet spot and call back in the afternoon if she had not given birth.

When Mocha didn't give birth that night, one of Pol's partners examined the dog and said that Mocha wasn't dilated, but that she would probably give birth to the puppies in a day or two. The doctor did not document his recommendations.

The next day, D.S. She called the clinic to report that Mocha's stomach "looked thin and saggy". A third veterinarian responded that Mocha would likely give birth later that day and that she would let nature take its course. This call was also not documented.

On April 12, D.S. He returned to the clinic with Mocha. A vet did an ultrasound on Mocha, told the owner she hadn't noticed any movement, and called Pol into the room. Pol "looked at the ultrasound, informed the DS that he saw movement on the ultrasound, and said that the DS misinterpreted Mocha's due date" and sent the dog home.

DS took Mocha to another clinic the same day for a second opinion. A vet did an ultrasound, found no movement, and performed a c-section.

The doctor "found 10 dead puppies in Mocha, covered in a greenish-brown mucus," the complaint said. "The... vet said the puppies had probably been dead for at least three or four days."

Pol's account of what happened is different. He told VIN News Service that Mocha's owner wanted a c-section immediately. "The dog wasn't ready yet," he said. “There was no milk, no river, nothing. I had an ultrasound; I found live puppies. ... I've had several C-sections," he added. "I know what I'm doing."

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Pol said the vet who was consulted for the second opinion worked for him briefly 20 years ago and they parted on ill-advised terms. Pol speculated that this vet had "messed up the C-section" causing the pups to die, and then pointed the finger at Pol to avoid blame.

The VIN news service asked Dr. Tony Johnson, a board-certified evaluator for the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and an emergency medicine consultant to VIN, to review the claim against Pol and provide his perspective. Johnson pointed out that while the facts presented in the complaint may seem damning, the document does not contain Pol's rebuttal.

"If what is presented in the complaint is factual, then he has become very negligent in this matter..." Johnson said. "(But) if the expiration date was calculated incorrectly and the owners incorrectly described the discharge, maybe they weren't wrong."

Johnson noted that determining the date of delivery in dogs is difficult because conception sometimes occurs days after mating. "You can breed a bitch on Monday and she can't get pregnant until the following Monday," he said.

Medical documentation is also missing from the narrative, Johnson said. "We are operating without a pathology report," he said. “We don't have a puppy specialist who has evaluated the case. These are all opinions tempered with one's own agenda."

Johnson added: "The one thing you can't talk about would be the lack of records. He's at least guilty and responsible, but probably 90 percent of vets are when it comes to keeping records of communications with clients. You can't record every conversation you have with the owners."

Pol acknowledged that he doesn't keep complete records, but said that for a small operation, tracking every call is a challenge. "I was here the Saturday before Labor Day and between 8am and 2pm we got 40 calls," he said.

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In response to criticism from some veterinarians that his approach to medicine was immature and outdated, Pol replied, "We live in Michigan, where the economy is bad, and I help animals as best I can." this this. ... For me, the pet owner has the last word. You can't make a landlord do things he can't afford."

Pol also said he wasn't interested in starring in a TV show, but was doing it for his son, an aspiring film producer, who pitched the idea to the National Geographic Channel as a favor.

"I said, 'Who wants to see me?' I said, 'We do things differently here. We're going to have complaints,'" Pol said. "And that's exactly what happened."


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