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Hostage Situation

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Tails from the Veterinary Clinic

It was a weeknight. I’m there for several hours seeing routine appointments when a STAT triage is called. The technicians rush the patient, Twinkles – a Chihuahua that has been hit by a car, into the treatment area. The dog has an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate and one of his eyes has some blood in it (hyphema). His jaw and teeth appear intact, his gums are nice and pink, and there are no obvious wounds. Twinkles’ pupils are a bit small but equal in size and reactive to light. An intravenous catheter is placed, a brief neurologic exam is performed, and an injection of pain medication is administered. I go to talk to the owner to obtain a history.

The owner is an older woman and a retired teacher. She is obviously upset, but her demeanor doesn’t immediately scream: Beware, I’m insane.

Me: Hi, I’m Dr. Smith…

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