(January 2001) I have three stories to share, two published in a professional publication and the third a personal account which is sadly unverifiable but absolutely true.
The first story is described in a lawsuit filed against a veterinarian and his clinic by the grieving family of a young man who had been hired to do kennel work: dog walking, poop scooping etc. He was found dead by his supervisor midway through his first solo day of work. The 16-year-old had been hired three weeks previously and trained for his duties of walking the dogs, locating cat food, and cleaning kennels.
His supervisor found him dead at midday on Sunday, his first day of unattended work, in the surgery suite -- a place a kennel worker has no business being. He was wrapped around an empty bottle of liquid anesthetic gas.
Apparently this Darwin wannabe had sought the drug out and chugged down the whole bottle in the hopes that it would give give him a euphoric high. He did not realize that the liquid is vaporized into a gas before being administered to patients, and in its highly concentrated form it probably killed him before he had the chance to realize he wasn't getting a buzz.
The kicker to this story is that his family is suing the veterinarian and the clinic for not providing this idiot child with appropriate training. What sort of training do you need to avoid, and especially not ingest, unknown substances? Did they have to tell him not to drink the bleach? "Hey kid, don't mess with those scalpel blades, but if you do, be sure not to jam one up your nose."
The second story was published in a series of articles about controlled drugs -- those drugs with abuse potential -- and how to keep your clinic's supply safe and legal. Ketamine, an injectable anesthetic known on the street as Special K, is a popular target for veterinary drug thieves. The clinic in the article had suffered a break-in and was missing several bottles of ketamine, and oddly, two bottles of euthanasia solution as well. Euthanasia solution is the highly concentrated form of an injectable anesthetic that is used to humanely end the lives of suffering animals, and the product labelling makes it EXTREMELY clear that the purpose of the drug is to KILL. A skull and crossbones is a prominent feature on such packaging.
The thieves were found a few days later, sprawled amid the cash from the sale of their stolen ketamine. They didn't have a chance to enjoy their booty, however, as one was dead and the second comatose from injecting the concentrated euthanasia solution directly into their veins.
The third story involves a telephone call we received one Saturday while working at a veterinary emergency hospital. I heard my technician answered the phone, listen a minute, and say, "Hold on, I'll ask the doctor." He turned to me and gave me a drug name that sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it, nor could I find it in my drug dictionary.
I asked him to interrogate the caller. Were they clients? Had we prescribed the drug? If not, where had they found it and why were they calling me instead of the hospital? Maybe with more information I could answer their question.
He went back to the phone and clarified the situation. He put the callers on hold and said "They bought the drug on the street in Mexico and just shot it up. They want to know what it is supposed to do to them." Apparently the bottle was labeled in Spanish, and the one semi-recognizable word resembled the English word "veterinary." That was why they thought to call me to ask why the drug wasn't giving them the promised high.
I wish I had had the foresight to pretend it was a concentrated hormone that causes testicular shrinkage, but instead I saved them from winning a Darwin Award by telling them to get their stupid selves to the nearest HUMAN emergency room.
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Submitted by: Margaret
Reference: DVM Newsmagazine