Veterinarian Dr Pol accused of negligence

Veterinarian Dr Pol, star of the hugely popular TV show ‘The Incredible Dr Pol’, has been placed on professional probation for negligence.

American veterinarian Jan Pol, 77, who claims to have attended to more than 20 000 animals, was accused of negligence after performing surgery on a dog and when treating a wounded horse.

A Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed a 2018 order by the US state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which placed Dr Pol on probation for negligence.

photo: Facebook

Dr Pol in trouble

The case dates back to 2013, when a TV viewer criticised how Dr Pol performed an ovariohysterectomy on a dog. The state attorney general investigated the matter and filed a complaint against him for “failing to intubate the dog during surgery, failing to use an electronic monitoring device during the procedure, failing to request assistance locating the dog’s uterus during surgery and failing to wear a surgical cap, mask and gown during the procedure.”

In 2015, the state received another complaint from a horse’s owners stating that the TV celebrity was not wearing a cap, gown or gloves when treating a cut on their horse’s leg and that he had also failed to trim the horse’s hair near the laceration.

Dr Pol was placed on probation for “a minimum of one day, not to exceed one year”. He was also ordered to pay all costs incurred in complying with the terms of that order, and complete continuing education “in the areas of small animal surgical preparation and monitoring, and small/large animal aseptic technique.”

This is not the first time Dr. Pol has been accused of negligent practices. Back in 2012, he was put on probation for an April 2010 incident in which he failed to read a canine ultrasound accurately and in 2014, a veterinarian filed a different complaint against Dr Pol stating that when performing surgery on a Boston terrier that had been hit by an automobile, Dr Pol didn’t wear sterile surgical attire.

What’s next?

Dr Pol, who has been treating pets and livestock in rural Michigan since the 1970s, travels across rural Michigan providing care to animals of all shapes and sizes, from puppies to cows to snakes. His TV show on the Nat Geo channel is currently in its 16th season.

Despite the recent ruling, Dr Pol has many supporters and several disciplinary actions against him have been reversed in the past. His attorney, Christopher S. Patterson, JD believes the appeals process will not have a negative impact on the TV show. “This case demonstrates how the Michigan Veterinary Board makes arbitrary decisions. The Board even agreed that Dr. Pol’s care was competent,” he said. “We have had these issues with the Board previously, which resulted in the Michigan Court of Appeals reversing the Board for arbitrary and capricious decision-making. Dr. Pol will continue to challenge the Board until a fair and rational process is used for review of veterinary care.”