Did you miss this story? Read it here, and search a Baltimore Sun database to see whether your veterinarian has been in trouble.
The Baltimore Sun’s recent investigation into Maryland’s veterinarians began with a question from Maryland Editor Dave Rosenthal: What, exactly does the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners do?
The reporting got started at the board’s January meeting, when the board’s three inspectors outlined the violations that they had found in the field, such as veterinarians who left controlled substances unsecured. After the meeting, a quick conversation with the board officials revealed that the board posts online records of its disciplinary actions.
The paper then used the state’s Public Information Act to request files on the eight veterinarians who have had their licenses suspended or revoked since late 2007, when the board first began posting the actions online. The files arrived by mail a month later at a cost of $14.25.
The records revealed the names of owners who raised issue over the treatment of their pets and outlined the troubles, including in some cases surgeries they said they hadn’t authorized. They also described an unsanitary clinic and veterinarians who were using their positions to access prescription drugs. The Sun tracked down some of those men and women and found a few who were willing to share their story.
The harder part was locating the vets who had their licenses suspended or revoked. That involved researching their names on Lexis-Nexis, a powerful search engine available by subscription, cross-referencing websites and blogs, as well as several angry phone calls. In the end, none of the veterinarians who had their licenses suspended or revoked returned the calls or were willing to talk.
Nick Tann, a design and technology guru for the paper, built a searchable database that includes the names, locations and dates of violations since 2007.
The story, published Sunday, weaves together the data, expert analysis, information from the board and real life stories about what can go wrong and who’s working to make sure it goes right.