State Investigates Local Vet Following Botched Surgery

A local veterinarian is being investigated by the state after a pet surgery that went wrong. Lu Ann Cahn and the NBC 10 Investigators found out it's not the first time the vet has been in trouble.   

The vet in this case did admit to Cahn he made a mistake. It was the kind of mistake, the American Veterinary Medical Association calls highly unusual, checking to see if you're operating on a male or female cat.  

"He was very confused, very disorganized," Carolyn Czop said.

Czop is talking about veterinarian Dr. Jerry Godfrey and said his mistake nearly cost her cat's life.

From the beginning Czop said things didn't seem right when she brought her two kittens to see him at Banfield the Pet Hospital in Fairless Hills.

She also said she was told the kitten, Oreo, was a female. In May, she brought the cats back to the hospital to be declawed and neutered with one request.

"I told them I don't want Dr. Godfrey touching my cats. I made an appointment on a day he was not going to be there," Czop said.

But she said Godfrey was there and despite her hesitations she allowed the surgeries.

At the time she didn't know about Godfrey's history at his own private practice in Frazer.

Records showed in 2004 Godfrey's veterinary license was suspended for six months followed by two years probation.

The veterinary licensing board said it was appalled by the doctor's conduct, staffing his facility with non-certified employees, that he destroyed records, misled the public, all leading to the death of a dog in his hospital's care.

His license was fully reinstated in 2007.

Czop said she didn't know any of that on May 20 when she got the emergency call from Godfrey saying Oreo was in intensive care and that Oreo was a male cat.

"He performed a female surgery on a male cat and basically cut his urethra to his bladder and he had to lose his left kidney," Czop said.

Czop said another vet performed surgery to save her cat's life and Godfrey went back to work at another  Banfield hospital in Jenkintown.

Czop said she called Banfield's national headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

"I called there three times, no one ever called me back," she said.

When Cahn went to see Godfrey at his Frazer office he refused an on-camera interview but he admitted he made the mistake and that "it happens." 

He said he paid for his mistakes when his license was suspended and that he runs a good practice.

Meanwhile, Banfield responded when NBC 10 called saying Godfrey was suspended from working at their hospitals until a peer review process is complete. 

A Banfield spokesperson called the incident "very unfortunate" and said the company will also pay for future medical care.

Oreo appears to be making a good recovery. But his owner Czop said Banfield should have acted sooner.

"I just wanted someone to acknowledge what happened. Give me back the money I spent and say they're sorry," Czop said.

NBC 10 was told the state is aware of the latest case involving Godfrey and is reviewing the complaint.

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