Istvan Hertel

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Beware of Istvan Hertel

**PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE** STAY AWAY FROM CLARKSON VILLAGE ANIMAL HOSPITAL! Our 11 year old shih –tzu (a.k.a Bear) was brought to Clarkson Village Animal Hospital on Monday February 26th 2018. He was in the care of fantastic local boarding facility (will keep their name out of this as they had nothing to do with this review). They were vigilant with our dog and noticed he wasn’t breathing right and acting distressed and took him over to this emergency clinic at approximately 9pm. We received a call from the camp owner and a female veterinarian who expressed her concern for Bear. He had some laboured breathing and his belly seemed very swollen. Bear was diagnosed with a heart condition last summer that we have been controlling with medication and I discussed that with her. She recommended we put him on oxygen, run some blood tests and take an x-ray to see what was going on. She quoted me approx. $1425.00 to cover up to 12 hours of hospitalization/oxygen and promised any unused funds would be returned to me. From my conversation with her she did not express that Bear was in serious condition and really was just concerned on why he suddenly starting acting this way. We handed over our credit card details and were promised a call back shortly. Approx 1.5 hours later we received the promise call back and this time there was a male on the line who introduced himself as ‘Dr Hertel’. He began the conversation by saying “I don’t have good news… the dog has cancer”. We were shocked and emotional and he explained further that “his liver was huge”, “its lung cancer that spread to the liver or the other way around”. Due to his stern tone and explanation I asked him “how long does he have?” and Dr Hertel stated “hours… maybe a few days”. Immediately he recommended a string of further testing (ultrasounds, biopsies) and treatments. To be honest I was devastated and in complete shock and I just needed a few minutes to process all this information so I declined any further treatments/testing (and after all why would we put such a sick dog through any more medical procedures?). Dr Hertel mentioned he was sending the X-Rays over to someone else for a secondary opinion and to call back at 7am EST for an update on Bear’s condition. To say that we were emotional and devastated would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. It was a sleepless night and we debated whether or not we should fly home early. Our return ticket was scheduled for March 7th 2018 and I frantically tried to make arrangements to see how quickly we could get home. We were in Madeira, Portugal and the next available flight back to Toronto (with 2 connections via Lisbon and Ponta Delgada) would have got as home on Wednesday February 28th at 7:00pm EST at the earliest (approx. 36 hours later). We struggled with this decision given the information we were told and felt so terrible and helpless. Between the costs to change flights, the missed (pre-booked/pre-paid hotels) that we would have had to forfeit this would have been at a loss of over $6,000+ CAD. Our family and friends were equally as devastated especially my parents who were away on a cruise at the time (and who flew back to Toronto as soon as the cruise returned to Miami instead of lingering in Florida). I have spoken to this clinic’s managerial staff who blatantly said it was my word against Dr Hertel’s word (who denies this conversation). I have late night text messages and emails sharing this terrible news with our family and friends- why would ANYONE make this up and upset a loved one? The next morning at 7am EST (12pm local time in Madeira) I called the clinic and spoke to Dr Hertel again. He mentioned that Bear had been taken off oxygen shortly before my phone call and was doing well (as per the medical report this took place at 6:39AM EST). I asked him about the ‘second opinion’ and was told once again that it was DEFINIETELY cancer. Dr Hertel suggested he keep Bear a little longer there for monitoring and I agreed and I mentioned that we had pre-paid for 12 hours and wanted to confirm we were settled in terms of funds. Dr Hertel informed me that he would have to check how much more it would be and gave an estimate stating “a few hundred dollars”. Given the fact this could have been the dog’s final hours we asked that he be released and was brought back to camp under the care of the wonderful owner who was also shocked and upset about the diagnosis. This bought us some more time to arrange for a friend or family member to pick up the dog as it was now morning in Toronto. My invoice states that Bear was checked into the hospital at approx. 9:30pm and was administered oxygen right away. I was invoiced and paid in full for ‘up to 12 hours’ of both hospitalization AND oxygen. When I finally received my invoice and cross referenced it with the medical report I noticed that the oxygen was discontinued at 6:30am and the dog was released between 7:15am-7:30am. When I questioned the administrative manager about why Dr Hertel quoted us more money to ‘monitor the dog’ she explained that “veterinarians don’t know about billing that’s with our admin staff’s job”. Excuse me, but here I am calling from overseas and nobody can be bothered to see how much I’ve paid so it’s easier to request more money from me? Unbelievable! I was also told from the ‘client service manager’ that had the dog been left for an hour or so after 12 hours expired we would of NOT be charged. It can’t be more obvious that this individual is all about the money and not about the welfare of the animal. Disgusting! On the eve of Bear’s hospitalization I was immediately emailed a visa receipt for the charge of $1425. I also emailed the clinic at approx. 3am EST asking for a picture of Bear and an update where I was told he was “doing okay and resting comfortably” (yet ignored my request for a photo). I truly thought that might be the last photo of our beloved dog and I wanted to see how sickly looked. I was on the other side of the world and was trusting in everything I was being told by this clinic. I also requested a detailed breakdown of what we had been charged for (also ignored). In the days immediately following Bear’s release I requested an itemized invoice (in writing via email) THREE more times and also CALLED the clinic. I did not receive an invoice until Thursday March 15th 2018 after calling in and asking to speak to a manager. The clinic’s response was that they had the wrong email on the account (interesting considering the back and forth email communication I have). Immediately following Bear’s return to camp we received updates that he was back to his old self and was happily playing and running around with the other dogs. As concerned friends/family contacted us to ask how he was doing; it was brought to my attention that cancer CANNOT be diagnosed through an x-ray. An x-ray can be used to determine masses, lesions and other causes for concern that would further need to be tested to confirm cancer or some other condition. Also, we were told “his liver his huge” which conflicts with the medical report that claims “liver is moderately enlarged”. I am not in the medical profession and I had no idea about this and did not receive the report until a few days later. Even the medical report does not mention the word cancer (except that findings from the x-ray should be further tested) NOR does it mention that dog being in such a critical state. Upon my return to Canada I met my regular trusted veterinarian who confirmed all this information and was shocked to hear what I was told from Dr. Hertel and disagreed with the information I was given verbally. I have emailed the clinic and spoke to two different “managers” who claim they have spoken to Dr Hertel who felt “bad” that he “scared” me (scared me?). They also made it clear that it was his word against my word which is beyond insulting. I was also given the lip service that the clinic was reviewed how they are communicating information with their clients. I was told that they would follow up with me by Friday March 23rd with a resolution. I emailed them asking for a follow up today (March 26) and I have still yet to be contacted. I have given this clinic exactly a month to make things right and they have done NOTHING. Let me just be clear this NOT about the money. We spend THOUSANDS on our dog (by choice!) between feeding him a raw diet, bi-weekly grooming, veterinarian bills (check-ups/previous emergencies), medication, dog boarding/grooming and accessories. Had I been told the TRUTH and not EXAGERRATIONS then this would not be an issue. I must also note, this individual is not even LISTED as veterinarian on the clinic’s website. When I questioned this I was told that “Dr Hertel does not want his name or photo on the website” (you can use your own judgement as to why). I was also told their website was really outdated which also conflicted when I was told that this doctor has worked for them “for years”?! PLEASE PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM DISGUSTING AND UNETHICAL CLINIC- if they lack this much compassion for humans just imagine how much they don’t care about your animal!

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