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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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A vet that have used for many years did a C.section on a

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A vet that have used for many years did a C.section on a Great Dane bitch of mine. I leave nothing to chance and took a sterile container and blankets to the vet in which to put the new born puppies. On arrival I was met by the head vet and I told her that I couldn't find my hot water bottles to keep the puppies warm which essential. I was assured that they would provide them and I was not to worry. When I collected the puppies I could hear them screaming very loudly and when I took them home and removed them from the container they felt dangerously cold and the vet had neglected to provide them with any hot water bottles or a heat pad. Within a few days they started to die from a viral infection...this was the diagnosis of a different vet from the same practice. Four puppies died which as well as being heartbreaking the financial loss was considerable. I wrote to the head vet explaining my concern because virus can only thrive in a body temperature that is 2% cooler than normal. Puppies are unable to produce heat...it has to be provided to avoid this and clearly they neglected to provide any heat source even after assuring me that they would.
Their response was cavalier at best.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long ago was this?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
This was 12/10/2017

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. What you are faced with here is a potential negligence situation by the vet. Negligence occurs when a party owes another a duty of care and they have gone and breached that duty through their actions. When considering their actions, they will be judged by comparing them to those of a reasonably competent party in their position and whether the actions of the guilty party fell significantly below that standard.

To apply it to your situation: a court would look at what a reasonably competent vet would have done in these circumstances and if they would have been expected to provide a heat source for the pups. This would depend on whether this is a common practice in such situations and if it is, then there is an argument that any reasonable vet would have been expected to do the same.

If your vet failed to do this, the is an argument that their actions fell below the standard expected of a competent vet in their position and as such there is potential negligence. The next thing is to show that the results were reasonably foreseeable, i.e. Was it a reasonable expectation that the failure to provide a heat source would result in the pups' health being seriously affected by it,mor was it just a freak accident that it happened. If there was a clear expectation that there was a good chance they would be affected as a result, then reasonable foreseeability can likely be proven.

So all of this means that you can potentially consider a claim for negligence against the vets. You will not be able to claim for the stress or emotional distress and as the pups will simply be consider an inanimate object under law, you would be seeking compensation for their value.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to follow to take this further. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue the conversation.

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi..thank you for your response. What you have told me so far is what I already knew...what I want to know is how to make the claim against the vet for the negligence and also how would I acquire an expert to provide evidence? Without an expert to corroborate the evidence of negligence it's unlikely that any claim against a vet would be successful.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you for your help so far but I would appreciate it if you could answer the points that I raised.

Thanks I will reply later today

Hi there, any expert you use will have to be found by you and ideally agreed with the other side. At this stage you should just approach anyone capable of giving a professional opinion, usually a vet, and ask them if they are willing to to do so. You can get a report from them now and use it in your claim and if it is disputed, you may have to find another one and agree them with the other side.

In terms of taking this further, if a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the compensation in question. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.

As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks once again for your response...the information is very helpful and I shall follow your instructions. It's helpful to know in what order the steps should be taken.
I'm not so sure about getting an experts opinion.....no idea how I would ask for such a thing without explaining the situation. Once that was clear if would probably deter any vet. Among the many demands of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons vets must never make a criticism of any other vet. In my experience as an internationally renowned Great Dane breeder for over 30 yrs and many C sections I have never collected puppies afterwards without the vet having provided some form of heat....on occasion even surgical gloves filled with hot water. Any vet would acknowledge (off the record) that not to do so is incredibly negligent. Can you advise how I might approach this, I frankly have no idea.

difficult to say as I do not know who you need to speak to exactly. I suggest approaching any local vet and asking for their professional opinion and asking to potentially write you a letter to confirm that. It may cost a small fee. However there is no getting away from the fact that you have to explain the situation to some degree and whilst you cannot force anyone to provide an opinion, hopefully not everyone will e deterred by it. You do not need to mention names, ect