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Evidence Based Vet Forum • View topic - Pro-Animal Legislation in South Carolina

Pro-Animal Legislation in South Carolina

Medical guidelines should insists on proof that time-honored medical practices and procedures that cost money and may harm or kill patients are actually effective. This Forum is about how to force organized veterinary medicine to issue Evidence Based Guidelines.

Pro-Animal Legislation in South Carolina

Postby malernee » Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:36 pm

Pro-Animal Legislation in South Carolina

Dateline June 2005 After an unfortunate encounter with an incompetent veterinarian and extremely unsatisfactory dealings with the South Carolina Vet Board, I went from being a newly-retired housewife into a full-time animal advocate and citizen activist.

I took my kitten, PUMPKIN, to Dr. Stan Gorlitsky in June 2000, for a routine spay procedure. The surgery was a disaster, and had I not taken her to another vet who operated to save her life, PUMPKIN would have become another statistic. I quickly learned that Dr. Gorlitsky had lost his license in Ohio in 1989 after being found guilty of GROSS INCOMPETENCE and NEGLIGENCE. Having lost his license, he moved to South Carolina and continued killing and injuring animals over the next several years. Dozens of complaints were filed against him in South Carolina. The South Carolina Vet Board did nothing. With each complaint filed against him, he received a slap on the wrist and he just went on killing more animals. I was furious to discover that the Vet Board seemed to go out of their way to actually protect him.

I was determined to put a stop to the killings and to the improper actions of the Vet Board. It wasn't easy and it didn't happen quickly. The important thing is that I got Dr. Gorlitsky's license suspended, and then eventually, revoked (in South Carolina). I pray that he does not go to another state to continue his killing ways.

One of the phrases that I heard over and over again during this several year long battle was "that's the way the law is written". Finally, I realized that I had to change the laws, and was forced to enter the political arena. I had no political experience and was uneducated about the process.

It took a lot of convincing but I finally convinced the Vet Board to include a "public disclosure" provision in it's new Veterinary Practice Act (VPA). The public disclosure provision in the VPA was backed by the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) and the Vet Board and these organizations' key members spoke publicly that the time had come for these reforms to benefit the citizens and animals throughout the state. My thought was that if a vet's complaint history were public, people would be able to choose their veterinarian more carefully. In addition, the standard of care would go up since vet's would know that complaints would be made public. The only vets who would be adversely affected by such provisions would be those like Dr. Gorlitsky, a very small percentage, since the vast majority of veterinarians provide excellent care to their patients.

Unfortunately, the VPA legislation did not pass. South Carolina State Senator Danny Verdin attacked the "public disclosure provision". It is important to note that Sen. Verdin's father is a practicing veterinarian in South Carolina and Sen. Verdin publicly acknowledges that his father has "had problems with the Vet Board". It is clear that Sen. Verdin is trying to protect his father's reputation rather than the animals and public of South Carolina. He is keeping an important pro-animal piece of legislation from passing.

The Vet Board was so desperate to get its VPA legislation to pass that at the end of the 2004 legislative session, it did a total reversal of its position of backing public disclosure and removed the important language from the 2005 version of the legislation. In so doing, they ensured that Sen. Verdin would no longer block passage of their legislation.

During the 2005 legislation term, I worked with my local state senator, Sen. Larry Grooms, to introduce an amendment adding in the public disclosure provision. Despite gaining the support and backing of the Senate's President Pro Tempore, Glenn McConnell, other senior senators, the Charleston newspaper (The Post and Courier), and the state capital newspaper (The State), both of which wrote several articles and editorials urging passage of the public disclosure language, Sen. Verdin was successful in holding up the legislation and keeping the matter from coming to a vote in the senate. I am informed that had the vote come up, the legislation would have passed.

When the South Carolina Legislature reconvenes in January 2006 I'll be back. I am already working on gaining additional supporters. I will not rest until the laws are changed in this state so that everyone can know a veterinarian's background and choose the best vet to care for their beloved pets.

Marcia Rosenberg mokayaker@msn.com

More information and links:

Background article: http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/3705742.htm

Dr. Gorlitsky's agreement to relinquish his license: http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Veterina ... itskyS.pdf

Editorial from The State (Columbia, SC) about the need for the legislation: http://www.thestate.com/mld/state/news/ ... tstory.jsp

DVM Newsmagazine article when the vet board was supporting public disclosure: http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/arti ... ?id=110690
malernee
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