State Board Eases Restrictions on Veterinarian Who Botched Spay

WSVN — It’s been years since a South Florida veterinarian botched a routine surgery ending with the death of a beloved dog. For years, the owner has been on a mission to convince authorities to take away his license. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.

Buffy was a champion show dog. She was also Sandy Gosselin’s pride and joy.

Sandy Gosselin: "She was the love of my life. She was my little sunshine. I’ll spend the rest of my life missing her."

Sandy took Buffy to the Palm Beach Gardens office of Dr. Richard Jaffe to be spayed. She says the procedure took hours and that Buffy was sent home in pain. She says she sent text messages to the vet all night– but he did not responded until the next morning when he sent this text indicating that he thought Buffy would "b alright."

Sandy Gosselin: "I called him immediately. I knew he was awake so I called him twice in a row and I left a message like, ‘She’s not all right and she’s in pain and what do I do?’ And he just ignored me."

Sandy rushed Buffy to another vet… but it was too late. The dog died from internal bleeding.

Sandy Gosselin: "And all of a sudden, I was like, ‘She’s not breathing.’"

Sandy made it her mission to make sure no other pet would suffer like her Buffy did. She attended meetings of the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine, the people who would be responsible for disciplining Dr. Jaffe for Buffy’s death.

Sandy Gosselin: "I’ll never forgive myself for spaying her, and I’ll never forgive myself for trusting him."

A transcript of the first hearing about Buffy in 2014 reveals the former board chair accused Dr. Jaffe of "incompetence" and called his behavior "inexcusable." And since he had been in trouble several times before, and the board considered him a "danger to the public," the board revoked his license.
 
Dr. Jaffe filed an appeal in court which allowed him to practice while it was pending. The board ended up reinstating his license with restrictions last summer. Among those restrictions was the requirement to have another vet monitor his work.

Dr. Richard Jaffe: "I do."

But at a hearing this month, Dr. Jaffe wanted that changed.

Edwin Bayo: "We believe that Dr. Jaffe can safely practice without on-site monitoring."  

He and his attorney argued, paying another vet to monitor his practice was expensive. 

Dr. Richard Jaffe: "Giving me some relief with on-site supervision would allow me to– free me up financially, allow me to put money back into things were I normally would put, alimony, the practice, etceteras."

The board agreed, but said Dr. Jaffe would still have to be monitored when doing surgery.

Board chair: "The motion carries."

Dr. Richard Jaffe: "Thank you board members."        

Sandy was disappointed.

Sandy Gosselin: "And you know, they seem to protect the vet instead of the pets."

Dr. Jaffe ignored our questions.

Daniel Cohen: "Could you just respond to that?"

Sandy meanwhile is not giving up.         

Sandy Gosselin: "I want justice. I can’t bring Buffy back, but I feel like others should be protected."

Carmel Cafiero, 7News.