Bad Vet

Race CardsDr. Hakam Singh Bhullar of Atlas Animal Hospital in East Vancouver has lost his license. The B.C. Veterinary Association held hearings into the allegations and stated that “The findings demonstrate such a high level of moral turpitude that Dr. Bhullar’s conduct is deserving of the most extreme penalty, that of erasure.” And what is the good doctor’s explanation? Why racism of course. What other reason could there possibly be? Actually there’s a number of other reasons.

The association posted it’s decision and cites 17 charges including “debarking” surgery that led to the death of a dog. I question why any vet would perform such surgery on an animal and support the association’s decision based on that alone but there’s more to the story. Dr. Bhullar owns the veterinarian clinic which employs nine vets and is present but not actively practicing. He called the revocation “unbelievable” and vows to go to the B.C. Supreme Court to have it overturned based on racism. He has rejected the 17 charges against him and says the association is biased against immigrant veterinarians by making it impossible for them to pass the licensing exam. That’s absurd because Dr. Bhullar himself received a license before having it withdrawn based on his poor performance. He maintains that the association is carrying out a vendetta against him and three other Indo-Canadian vets because they charge less for their services. What a pile of doggy-doo! Canada thrives on competition and lower rates would be embraced by pet owners if the quality of care was comparable to other available services. Would the general public stand idly by if an association forced its members to maintain high costs? Probably not as I’d be first in line to pound on their door and demand changes. And for that reason I dismiss Dr. Bhullar’s idiotic claim.

Dr. Bhullar may have had my support if he didn’t pull the standard race card as a defence for his behaviour. From what I’ve read he deserves to lose his license especially if he points the finger of blame at everyone but himself. I’m guessing there’s lots of pets in Greater Vancouver that are drawing a huge sigh of relief right now. Me too.

R&O

  20Comments

  1. Guest   •  

    That “race-card” thematic logo is cute! Describes the ‘objective-and-non-racist-stance’ of this site.

  2. LISA   •  

    Dr.Bhullar is to my best doctor in Vancouver , In maybe 12 years when he was my doctor he save 4 of my animals , other doctors told me animals have to be put down . I have rescue animals dr.Bhullar take care of 110% . Many my friends visit this doctor affter doctors over Vancouver only ask for more and more money , but never help animal, . Problem in Atlas is , in the hospital is ONLY ONE REAL AND BEST DOCTOR Dr. Bhullar , rest of ”””’doctors;;;;;; in back are NOT doctors .Many times when DR . Bhullar was not in hospital and i see other ;;;;doctor””” my animals ended with bloody nails ,doctor run out ,affraid of my little dog , my other dog , wait , I have so many horror stories from time when Dr. Bhullar was off,to make it short dr. Bhullar is responsible for what goin on in hospital when he is not in present , yes yes yes , . :::::Doctors “”””” from his hospital should be let go work in Mc. Donald do clean -up and never even look animals !!!!!!! But dr. Bhullar is best doctor in Vancouver , always will be ….. He should have fin. penalty ,or more but not licence . He is good doctor ,make big ,mistake took horrible people in , NOT DOCTORS. !!!!!! those doctors did horrible things to my animals , I do have pictures after surgery and dr.Bhullar have to fix it .!!!! yes he is responsible , but as doctor DR. BHULLAR IS BEST IN CITY OF VANCOUVER .

  3. Rose   •  

    I have been bringing my pets to Atlas Animal Hospital for 8 years now and my pets have been there a lot! Dr. Bhullars veterinary care surpasses any care that my pets have had from west coast to the east coast! This people have been after Dr Bhullars jugular for years looking for any loop hole, excuse and reason to bring this wonderful human being down. This is about GREED & jealousy! The greed and money hungry vultures which have the audacity to call themselves vets. We should be looking carefully into each one of their pasts and see how many malpractise suits they have & had against them instead of slandering a man with all good intention. How often has anyone found an honest caring vet who wasn’t holding his/her hand out first? The rest of the vets doctors here in Vancouver have and do take FULL advance of the fact we love our pets & pull at our heart strings at any $cost$. Dr. Bhullar as made it possible for people to afford good pet care so that we can keep our furrie babies healthy & alive without gouging us to death! If they want to use every excuse to bring this wonderful man down then I say, call it racism or call it anything else you wish to call it Dr. Bhullar. You deserve respect and you will have many people who will support you! Dr. Bhullar is a saint!!!

  4. Ben   •  

    It’s odd that the first time the BCVMA Council heard Dr. Bhullar’s case was Sept 19, 2009 but the entire Council making the decision was recorded during the week of Sept 11-18, 2009 saying the decision to take his license has already been made. The President of the BCVMA was also recorded calling Dr. Bhullar an a-hole the week before the hearing. Hardly the environment for a fair trial. All of these recordings can be heard at http://www.bcvetsforjustice.ca. A chairperson for the Conduct Review Committee was even quoted as saying the BCVMA, from as early as 1995, have wanted to stop Dr. Bhullar from practicing due to his low costs (almost 1/3 of the standard vets.) This issue is all about shutting down the competition that charge much less. In the past 10 years the BCVMA has taken the licenses of 4 vets. All indo, all low cost vets. There are 12,000 members of the BCVMA. Those numbers sound pretty fishy to me.

    -Ben

  5. Penny   •  

    I have never encountered so excellent a vet as Dr. Bhullar.

    I was taking my Black Lab to the vet in the 2400 block of St. Johns St. here in Port Moody for the limp she was evincing. The woman (who was working without an assistant) had me leave Daisy for XRays which would require sedation.

    Daisy stayed overnight. I returned late the next day to pick her up and the vet reviewed the Xrays with me.

    I have no medical background so I accepted the diagnosis without question, “Hip Dysplasia”. The vet pointed out the many indications of the condition.

    Daisy was very groggy for the day after the XRays and seemed to be in a lot of pain too.

    The vet treated her for about 3 years, mainly for pain as her condition worsened. One medication she sold me was an extremely expensive form of Glucosamine, “especially formulated for dogs”. I unhesitatingly bought it.

    The years went by and I was regularly taking Daisy to have her toenails clipped. It seemed she was slipping a lot and one place she was slipping was on the floor at the vet’s.

    One day, the vet knelt down in front of Daisy, saying, as she did so, “this is going to hurt” and twisted Daisy’s leg. Daisy screamed in pain. The vet said nothing to me. She continued to treat Daisy for Hip Dysplasia as she had been doing for
    the past 3 years.

    One day, my neighbour’s dog, Sage, was hit by a car and they took him to Dr. Sharma, an East Indian vet in the area. They were enormously impressed with his work and attitude, particularly when they realized that Dr. Sharma had stayed at the clinic overnight with Sage. Sage was up and running around in no time.

    I was impressed with the treatment my neighbours spoke of and decided to take Daisy to Dr. Sharma, partly because she was in pain and partly because she slipped so badly on my vet’s floor.

    I told Dr. Sharma about Daisy’s hip dysplasia, wondering if he could help her. He said that Daisy would need XRays but because he was without an assistant, I should go to see Dr. Bhullar in Vancouver becuase he had the assistance and facilities to XRay big dogs.

    I left Daisy there and was told to come back in a few hours (not the next day!) to pick her up. On the drive back I decided to stop at the vet’s to pick up the XRays she had taken 3 years earlier so that they could be compared to the new ones. I was surprised, when I get there, to find she was very reluctant to give them to me. I explained what I was doing, telling her that her floor was too slippery for Daisy to negotiate. Besides, I’d paid for them. She asked that I return them to her.

    I took these XRays and showed them to Dr. Bhullar. He told me that: 1) the Xrays had been taken in the wrong position to diagnose hip dysplasia and these Xyays showed a normal dog and 2) Daisy had a broken cruciat (spelling) which is like a broken leg.

    And, although I was picking Daisy up after only a few hours, she was alert and ready to go. Nothing like the grogginess I’d observed with the Port Moody woman. I don’t remember the cost of the XRays but I do remember it was nothing close to what I’d been charged in Port Moody.

    The Port Moody vet must have realized what the problem really was when she manipulated Daisy’s leg but continued to treat her for a non-existant condition. And the Glucosamine? When I asked Dr. Sharma for a refill, I was charged a fraction of what I was used to paying. I questioned him about it, saying that Daisy was accustomed to getting a type of Glucosamine especially for dogs. Dr. Sharma put me straight on that.

    Dr. Sharma is no longer practicing as he used to, so Dr. Bhullar is my vet now, even though he’s a long drive away. The 24/7 clinic is great. He charges no more at 3AM than he does at 3PM. I have a cat and a new dog (Daisy died) and I’ve found him so superior to any other vet I’ve encountered. He’s able to handle my new dog who, although he’s sweet and lovely with anyone else, turns into a fiend with a vet.

    It isn’t going too far to say I hate that vet in Port Moody. Not only is she incompetent but she is dishonest and prideful and caused Daisy 3 years of pain. Needless to say, I did not return the XRays.

    I don’t go to Dr. Bhullar because he charges less; I go to hime because he’s a fabulous vet – the best I’ve seen.

    extremely expensive form of Glucosamine.

  6. Susan   •  

    I have been working with at-risk youth for 25 years now, and became aware of Atlas as a result of some of my students using their services. Why Atlas? They use a sliding scale for procedures based on income, and the financially challenged youth took their pets there for spaying and neutering. So there are thousands of ‘street’ pets out there that would be reproducing if it were not for Atlas. In addition, I have taken two cats and a dog to Atlas (full price, of course… still less than at other clinics) with great service and results. The clinic was clean, the staff caring and professional. I was shocked to hear of Dr. Bhullar’s problems and would not hesitate to support him.

  7. Traysea   •  

    I took my dog to Yaletown Pet Hospital last year and the owner Rob Spooner recommended I remove a lump found on my dogs stomach, near his groin. Close to $1000.00, Atlas would have been half of that. I foolishly believed that if I was paying double what low cost clinincs charge, I must be getting the best possible care for my dog.

    7 days later I was forced to take my dog to the Animal Emergency Clinic as Rob Spooner refused to help my dog and deal with the complications this surgery caused him. He chose to email numerous times though re: my dog’s condition and listed numerous things that could be wrong but he wasnt in the clinic today. He was sorry though for the distress my dog was in and the distress the situation was causing me.

    I filed a complaint with the BCVMA re: this incompetent, deceitful man and I can tell the public that they only discipline indo canadian vets.

    Yaletown Pet Hospital breached more of the BCVMA code of ethics than Dr. Bhullar did but the BCVMA is protecting him. They are even keeping my dogs necropsy results from me to cover his ass.

    I recently learned that Rob Spooner, owner of Yaletown Pet Hospital somehow kept tissue samples from my dead dog for 5 months after the necropsy was done and he refused to give me all the copies of the results as had been agreed prior to me agreeing to this.(The BCVMA lied to me about the existence of these records) and requested that tissue samples of my dog’s brain and lungs be sent to Saskatchewan for testing and that he had the final report.

    Well I had no idea that this had taken place and this testing is why I wanted a necropsy 5 months prior but I was told the necropsy was done and over. He did not have my permission or consent to do things with my dead dog’s body parts. He did this after I filed a complaint against him with the BCVMA, told him he killed my dog and filed a lawsuit against him.

    And guess who is representing this guy in my claim against him. Alastair Wade, the BCVMA lawyer who represented the them in the only 4 discplinary matters that are published against indo canadian vets. And those vets supposedly breached the exact same code of ethics that Spooner did but it appears Spooner isnt required to abide by the same rules.

    The BCVMA is also “supposedly” investigating my complaint a year later but their lawyer is representing him in my civil claim.

    Rob Spooner, Yaletown Pet Hospital committed the following breaches of the BCVMA code of ethics, all which can be supported by evidence

    1. On December 5, 2008, he performed a surgical procedure on my dog, removal of a lump on his stomach, without my “Informed Consent”. He did not warn me of the many, many risks involved with this surgery, or give me all the information needed to make the right choice of treatment.
    I have an email from him admitting this sent after my dogs death.

    2. On December 5, 2008, R. Spooner performed another surgical procedure on my dog, removed a lump from his tongue, without my knowlege or consent. He informed me of this after the fact. So he most definately did not have my “Informed Consent ” here. Again I have an email from him admitting this after my dogs death.

    3. On December 10, 2008 R.Spooner withheld vital information from me when he got the biopsy results back, those being that he had been unsuccessful in both surgical procedures and had left dirty margin cells behind, both lumps were malignant and had high chance of spreading. I didnt even know not getting all the cancer out was a risk as he never told me this. Again I have an email from him admitting this after my dogs death.

    R.Spooner has refused to provide me all the results from my dogs necrospy and the BCVMA has supported him in not doing so.

    R. Spooner stole my dead dog after I was told the necropsy was done and over, kept my dead dog for his own selfish motives, sent my parts of my dog out of province for further testing and had the results 5 months after and marked on the form submitted to this lab- name of owner unknown. Again the BCVMA supported him in doing this.

    I have no idea what happened to my poor dogs dead body. They could have used it for teaching classes, research and experimental purposes, they refuse to tell me any information.

    R. Spooner intentionally altered his medical records submitted to the BCVMA re: my complaint against him. 3 months ago I reported this to the BCVMA requesting to talk to the person “supposedly” investigating my complaint. Was told that person would get back to me if they wished to.

    If R.Spooner was an indo canadian vet and did all the things he did to my dog and me, this complaint would have already been dealt with, he would have had his liscense suspended and fined big time just as the other 4 indo canadian vets were.

    The BCVMA went after Dr. Bhullar because he is the only one who challenged them and they didnt like this.

    Robert Ashburner, owner of the West King Edward Animal Clinic, who is also the chair of the BCVMA Conduct and Review Committee is currently named as a defendant in a civil law suit filed by a pet owner for killing their dog. On BC Court services online, his pet clinic is named in 7 separate civil lawsuits dating back to 1995 and a recent lawsuit was just filed against his clinic this November 2009.

    Dr. Bhullar and the 4 other indo canadian vets are hardly the only ones to do what the BCVMA claims they did. Council members have committed these exact “supposed” breaches and they are still sitting on the council.

    The BCVMA is a corrupt association with a mob mentality. They are only there to protect its members, they dont give a dam about the public and their pets. And should one of its members attempt to challenge their rules, they are taken out, eliminated.

  8. star   •  

    Sorry to hear about Dr. Bhullar. Kind of shocked his license got taken away. Holy Crap! He treated my 2 cats was a good vet until they misdiagnosed my cat’s cancer. But that wasn’t dr. bhullar it was the younger doctor. So, but was not happy when i put my other cat down and they asked if i wanted anathaesa for the cat. he was being put down he wouldn’t feel anything! I have no cats now but would not go there anymore for vet services. i didn’t find they were the warmest people. but Using the Race card is so pathetic,.

  9. JJ   •  

    Buddy, you completely miss the point. The Indo-Cdn. low cost vets are fluorishing financially. They have an active and growing clientele and new low cost clincs are opening up. Vets who are trying to compete with them and are charging the “suggested” BCVMA rate are finding it difficult to compete. The BCVMA disciplinary tribunals are stacked with people who are direct competitors of people who run low cost vets. So, they have a financial interest in bringing disciplinary charges and finding them guilty of those charges. The reason that it’s a race issue is that the BCVMA disseminates information that plays on race and ignorance. For example, they claim that Indo. Cdn. vets trained in India only learn how to treat large animals. This is false. It’s the substantive claims that members of the BCVMA have made that are the basis for the racist claim. Before you spout off, you may want to actually know SOMETHING about what you’re talking about…

    • R&O   •     Author

      Actually ‘Buddy‘, I do know what I’m talking about and if you read my post you might be able to wrap your small, pointy head around it. Did you read my followup post? Nope, I didn’t think so. Playing the race card to defend oneself from charges or allegations is usually lame and at best pathetic. In this case I actually contacted the vet in question and requested to discuss the issue and would certainly have posted an apology if required. Although the receptionist confirmed that the vet had received my request and would ‘get back to me’, he never did. It’s much easier to blame racism for ones problems than provide facts to defend oneself and, based on that, I’m guessing the original charges are probably accurate.

  10. JJ   •  

    No, buddy, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You have in part dismissed Bhullar’s claim on the basis that the market would essentially determine whether he is providing reasonable standards of care. I quote you below: “Canada thrives on competition and lower rates would be embraced by pet owners if the quality of care was comparable to other available services.” The lower rates are being embraced by the general public. Dr. Bhullar and many of the other Indo-Cdn vets have a loyal and GROWING clientele.

    PLUS, all of the disciplinary charges against another INdo-Cdn. vet were recently dismissed by a BC Court on the basis that there was evidence of bias in the BCVMA proceedings…

    Your specious “reasoning” for dismissing Dr. Bhullar’s claim appears to be that 1) it can’t be true 2) he didn’t call you back.

    Your comment re: the licensing issue is also utterly ill-informed. The fact that he had a license has no bearing on the legitimacy of the claim that the English language proficiency test was being used as a means to prevent FURTHER Indo-Cdn vets from being licensed in BC. The standard being used by the BCVMA-one they were forced to scrap-was higher than ANY other profession in NA.

    I’d just be a heck of a lot more cautious before posting someone’s picture on a website and making strong, uninformed comments.

    As people who have actually followed this case know, it’s an economic issue that has become racialized because the BCVMA identifies the target group in terms of race…

  11. Vic   •  

    Dr. Bhullar misdiagnosed my cat’s detached retina as an infection. He made me give her drops for her eyes for a month before recommending I see an eye specialist. It was someone on FelineDiabetes.com that recommended getting in to have her blood pressure checked.

    That is how I met Dr. Spooner, who is one of the most exceptional vets and humans I’ve ever met. Not only did he diagnose her correctly with high blood pressure causing the detached retina and total blindness – sadly too late (if diagnosed quickly it is reversible) because of the delay caused by Dr. Bhuller – but he treated her for the last months of her life in a way that can only be described as enlightened and with grace.

    Dr. Bhuller’s office did not have equipment to check a cat’s blood pressure and when last I called in 2009, a year after my cat’s death, they still did not. How does one do a surgical procedure without checking blood pressure?

    Dr. Bhuller and his staff were rough with my cat and very condescending to me.

    The Yaletown Pet Hospital employs skilled and gentle techs and admin assistants who treat both the pet and caregiver with respect. They were extremely knowledgeable and open-minded when I did my own research and asked questions. Very professional. I take my current cat there and am still happy with them.

  12. ELIZAFRAN   •  

    Dr Bhullar was always very good with my 2 dogs until he stopped being there….I remember I thought my poodle 6yrs old at the time might have cancer; one of the associates said “put her down” even though I had pet insurance; they didn’t even want to look. I told them if Dr Bhullar were there he’d get rid of them all! Today my little poodle is 15 1/2 yrs old, takes heart pills but she is still kicking!

  13. Anne Wakelin   •  

    This all very interesting reading….the race card is always such an easy way out, is it not getting a little old by now……..you need to stand on your merit……every health professional coming into Canada has to pass exams in order to practice here….that is only reasonable and common sense…..if you cannot read and understand the info in this country, how can you practice in a safe and informed and competent manner……if this vet is competent, good that he is reinstated, but if he was reinstated because of the race issue, pity the animals and their owners.
    You, Dr. Andrew, need to pursue your license, we need caring, open minded, up-to-date professionals who care more for the animals than what might look good and goes with the flow…….a treatment killed my dog this year….if I had had more knowledge and pursued a different approach to her care, she would likely be with us to-day. My new addition gets the benefit of your suggestions to investigate alternatives to the standards that may be less harmful to our pets. Also this lucky pup is getting better nutrition thanks to your advice and my research. Yes you need to be practicing again and sharing your knowledge and skills with the fortunate who will have you as their vet. Also, to many, your voice will be much louder as a practicing, licensed vet.
    Prayers and good wishes to you and your lovely family.

  14. D   •  

    I will never bring my pets to Atlas ever again. That’s all I will say..:

  15. Rozelle Hobson   •  

    In the past,dr.bhullar has treated 4 of my cats and 1of my dogs and I have been well satisfied with the treatment of all of my pets over the past 20 years, by this vet. Therefore, I do not find it easy to believe most of these complaints of a man who was as respected as dr.bhullar for his sensitive treatment of animals.

  16. John Wilson   •  

    Interesting video that might help explain things. I personally think he is an amazing Vet. I stand behind Dr. Bhullar 100%. If you watch this video made by CBC Market Place you will understand what is going on.

    Marketplace: Cat Got Your Wallet?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ1LVn6BOe0

  17. E Mervyn   •  

    At a time when things were extremely tight financially, our dog was looked after in a gentle, kind way, and then the charges were waived. It’s been years since we were there, but I have to say, whoever he was – and he was Indo-Canadian by the way – he was a decent guy who cared about our dog.

  18. MSB   •  

    Seems Dr. Bhullar was vindicated.
    The B.C. Veterinary Medical Association “engaged in systemic discrimination” against Indo-Canadian vets associated with discount clinics, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has concluded.

    Tribunal member Judy Parrack found that the association — which became the College of Veterinarians of B.C. in 2010 — “tolerated and facilitated the discussion of wide-ranging and race-based allegations” about Indo-Canadian vets. The case dragged on for more than a decade.

    She ordered the association to end the discriminatory practices and to pay 13 vets born and trained in India $2,000 to $35,000 apiece plus interest for “injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect” plus more than $45,000 in total for various claims of lost wages and expenses.

    The rest of the story is here:
    http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/indo+canadian+veterinarians+human+rights+complaint+against+college/11428440/story.html

  19. Corissa   •  

    I don’t think its the Dr himself who is hurting our pet families…its his assistants. People working there who have no experience or right …unlicensed uneducated in veterinary medicine.. most likely relations of some kind.
    Its his practise…its his responsibility.
    I agree with another post….request to stay with your pet…than u can judge competence.
    Ive been a couple times…made the mistake of sending husband…he who trust all. I thought a few things were not quite right. When I went myself…with 2 yr old chihuahua for anal expression. I had to get my nurse friend to do it properly 2 days later!! Imagine something so routine…not able to perform.

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