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Final rule issued against Seemann

Article

Twin Cities, Minn. - The Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine (MBVM) wants Dr. Carl Seemann to pay nearly $40,000 in administrative penalties and fees and complete a list of directives in order to regain his license to practice.

Twin Cities, Minn. — The Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine (MBVM) wants Dr. Carl Seemann to pay nearly $40,000 in administrative penalties and fees and complete a list of directives in order to regain his license to practice.

Seemann, a small-animal veterinarian who spent 59 years practicing in northern Minnesota, promises to appeal.

The Jan. 31 ruling cements a temporary suspension issued by the board in December 2006, addressing Seemann's lack of pain-management protocols following surgery on a dog's fractured leg. While board supporters insist a practitioner's responsibility to mitigate pain is a standard-of-care in veterinary medicine, not everyond agrees with the details of the decision. If Seemann's suspension ultimately is upheld, the ruling will set new legal precedent to mandate pain management, experts say. (see "Price of Pain" in DVM Newsmagazine's October issue).

The ruling was not made in haste, MBVM Executive Director Dr. John King says.

"This case reflects an extremely unfortunate situation," he says. "It's not about which pain-management protocol to use. It's about ensuring that veterinarians have the knowledge, ability and obligation to at least do something when an animal is in a known painful situation."

According to board documents, Seemann can resume limited practice at Hilltop Animal Hospital in Bemidji, Minn., if he meets the following conditions:

  • Pay administrative penalties of $19,865 to reimburse the MBVM for a portion of the cost of the investigation and $20,000 "to discourage similar violations."

  • Pass the Companion Animal Disciplinary Examination within two attempts.

  • Practice while indirectly supervised by a board-approved DVM to observe and monitor his performance.

  • Limit surgical practice to spay, neuter, declaw and stitching minor cuts.

  • Complete at least 20 hours of continuing education in pain management and anesthesia.

  • Prepare written pain-management protocols for spay, neuter and declaw surgeries, suturing lacerations and surgical-wound care, removal of superficial masses and dental extractions, which will be submitted to regulators for approval.

  • Perform orthopedic surgeries only when pre-surgical screening and a surgical consent form are offered.

Seemann, who's already spent more than $80,000 in legal expenses, plans to take his case to Minnesota Court of Appeals. If that fails, he will seek the state's Supreme Court's consideration.

"I can't accept what the board is doing to me," he says. "What they've offered me is no way to practice."

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