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AIBU to not pay this vet bill?

(13 Posts)
ScrewyMcScrewup Fri 22-Mar-19 18:26:13

My elderly cat has kidney disease and needs six-monthly blood tests to see how things are progressing. I took him for a test at the beginning of March and paid in full.

I got a call a few days later to say everything looked fine except his potassium, which was off the charts. The vet said if the potassium levels were true, he would be dead, so it was clearly a lab error. She asked me to bring him back for repeat tests so we could see the true level.

I took him back, new results showed normal potassium levels, all good.

Today I was there with my other cat (it's been an expensive vet month!) and when I went to pay, the receptionist said there was an outstanding balance of £80 on my account. This turned out to be for the second blood tests, and I explained that they were a repeat because the lab had made an error. She spoke to the vet then said they would waive the £50 report fee, just leaving the £30 lab fee. I said the lab should provide the test free as it was only done to correct their error.

It was all very amicable and polite and we left it that the receptionist is going to call the lab and ask them to waive the fee. Now I'm wondering what to do if she calls back and says the lab insists on being paid. I think I'm being reasonable in not wanting to pay, but the receptionist seemed surprised like nobody had ever challenged it before...


Borris Fri 22-Mar-19 18:28:02

My practice would not charge if it was felt to be a lab error

Sunshine196 Fri 22-Mar-19 18:28:05

No you absolutely aren’t. I would have done the same. Stand firm 😀

SuchAToDo Fri 22-Mar-19 18:29:05

If they did the tests then you have to pay, somebody had to go to the trouble of taking the sample, sending it to the lab, testing it, coming up with results and sending it back to the surgery...I'm.sure the vet surgery probably has to pay for that, meaning you have to pay the vet...

Borris Fri 22-Mar-19 18:29:10

Was it a repeat of the whole blood profile or just a single potassium test? £80 seems super high if it was just a single test

Tinkerbell456 Fri 22-Mar-19 18:29:40

No you shouldn’t have to pay. It was their mistake. Glad your cat is okay!

PinkiOcelot Fri 22-Mar-19 18:32:16

Such, if there hadn’t been an error then the OP wouldn’t have had to have repeat bloods so why should OP have to pay?!

OP, no you shouldn’t have to pay.

ScrewyMcScrewup Fri 22-Mar-19 18:33:29

Borris If I recall correctly, she said they were repeating all electrolytes. The first tests cost about £90, which I assumed included the consultation fee.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Fri 22-Mar-19 18:34:07

I wouldn't think it fair to charge and I think you were right to ask for clarity on why the fee was being passed onto you considering it was not your error that meant the tests needed repeating.

I also agree with a PP that if it was just one test £80 seems very excessive.

MissConductUS Fri 22-Mar-19 18:45:53

The lab should not charge the vet for an obviously faulty test. Lab goofs are common enough that I'm surprised they haven't dealt with this before.

Elmo311 Fri 22-Mar-19 18:51:25

If it was just for the potassium you should not have been charged as it was an error. There are 2 blood tubes used, the EDTA and Serum. Sometimes if the blood syringe is put into the EDTA first and then into the serum tube the results can come back with high potassium. This is because the EDTA tube contains a perservative that if touched by the syringe and then entered into the other blood tube can affect the results. It is either human or lab error so you shouldn't have to pay in my opinion.
It is not fair if they chose to repeat the full electrolytes really instesd of just the potassium...but sometimes its because the one test on its own is just, if not more expensive than just testing everything together again.

Purpleartichoke Fri 22-Mar-19 18:55:54

You shouldn’t have to pay if there was an error.

As someone whose cat passed from kidney disease, do ask if these tests are actually going to help make your cat healthier or prolong her life in a significant way. We pretty quickly got to the point where further diagnostics were wasteful. We gave her regular im fluids for comfort until the day came it was obvious that wasn’t keeping her comfortable anymore.

ScrewyMcScrewup Fri 22-Mar-19 19:03:18

Thanks everybody. I'm glad the consensus is that I'm not being unfair to the vet... hopefully I won't hear any more about it. I don't want the vet to be out of pocket for the lab's error, so I hope they make a case with the lab for their own costs.

Elmo311 Thanks for the explanation - I was wondering how the error could have happened.

Purpleartichoke I'm sorry about your cat. sad My last boy passed from kidney disease too and it was mercifully quick after diagnosis. This time we caught it really early and the only treatment is diet, which has brought his bloods back to almost-normal levels, so the tests are to catch when it becomes more serious and he might need medication. Hopefully that's a long way off.

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