Vet who saved a Maltese terrier’s life after it ate an entire barbecue chicken is pinned up against the wall by its drunk owner when she handed the man a bill for $187
- A vet has spoken about being assaulted after she saved a Maltese terrier’s life
- Dr Margie Bale was 26-years-old and working as a vet on the Gold Coast, QLD
- She said the man pinned her against a wall by her shirt after she gave him the bill
- Dr Bale is one of a number of vets discussing mental health in industry this week
A veterinarian has opened up about her experience of being pinned up against a wall by a client after saving his dog’s life.
Dr Margie Bale, from the Gold Coast, was 26-years-old and had been working in a clinic where she was on call 24-hours-a-day, including weekends, for about two-and-a-half years.
‘It was about 11pm on a Saturday night and I got the call from a client – I could tell he had been drinking – about his Maltese terrier who had eaten an entire barbecue chicken,’ she told SBS Insight.
Dr Margie Bale, from the Gold Coast, was 26-years-old and had been working in a clinic where she was on call 24-hours-a-day, including weekends, for about two-and-a-half years
She said she was hesitant as the man was slurring his words but she had to save the animal as the intact chicken was preventing it from breathing properly.
The operation went smoothly with Dr Bale enabling the animal to breathe fully again but she said she things took a nasty turn when she gave the man the bill.
‘With that he launched into a huge tirade of abuse, saying that I was money hungry and that if I really cared that I would’ve done it for free.’
The man grew more aggressive and grabbed Dr Bale by the shirt then pinned her against the wall of her clinic.
She managed to talk the man down by saying they could sort the bill, which was $187, out another day – though it was never paid.
Dr Bale said the abuse from some clients over money, low wages, high pressure, and extremely long hours made her quit working in veterinary practices and she now works at a university.
The Australian Veterinary Association says that veterinarians have one of the highest rates of suicide at about four-times the national average – or around one suicide every 12 weeks in Australia.
‘Three colleagues [died of] suicide… the pressures of running a clinic, the emotional intensity of the job, and people always questioning our ethics over the bill after saving their animals’ lives, it wears you down,’ Dr Bale said.
Vets bills can run high because the machines, operating equipment and drugs are the same standard as human medicine but there is no Medicare type system to subsidise the cost.
Dr Bale, however, remembers clearly the amount of the bill she was assaulted over because she would have ‘dropped that amount on a pair of shoes in a heartbeat’.
While pet insurance recently got a negative review from CHOICE because of the lack of competition in the industry, most vets still recommend getting cover as a part of responsible pet ownership to help with unexpected costs.
Dr Bale is one of a number of veterinarians who will discuss the industry and mental health on SBS Insight at 8.30pm Tuesday.
Dr Bale said the abuse from some clients over money, low wages, high pressure, and extremely long hours made her quit working in veterinary practices and she now works at a university