• Orlando woman claims veterinarian missed her dog's fatal tumor

    By: Daralene Jones , James Tutten

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando woman claims her vet missed a diagnosis that could've added time to her dog's life.

    Now, she's filed a lawsuit, alleging the office in east Orange County never reviewed X-rays that showed a large tumor.

    Maximus, the miniature Schnauzer, was Laura Marcinkowski's very best friend. 


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    "He was everything, he was my little sidekick," Marcinkowski said.

    Her longtime vet at Chickasaw Trail Animal Hospital in East Orange County performed a routine checkup.

    Medical records she provided 9-Investigates show he received an exam, blood work and an EKG.

    According to the lawsuit, now filed for negligence, the doctor noted the EKG was abnormal, but only because of an existing heart murmur, and all other tests were fine. 

    Marcinkowski said she was also encouraged to get dental work on Maximus that day. 

    "This requires anesthesia. So, I said "I wasn't comfortable putting him under anesthesia because he has a little bit of a heart murmur," Marcinkowski said. "They said that there were all kinds of tests they could do." 

    Because of concerns about the existing heart murmur the dental work was put on hold while she waited for results from chest X-rays and an EKG, which were supposed to be sent to a specialist for evaluation. 

    According to the lawsuit, the vet told Marcinkowski "that upon review of the records, everything appeared normal." 

    But medical records show two days later, the specialist had notified the doctor they sent EKG results that were two years old and they could not review the X-rays. 

    Maximus died weeks later.     

    "They did not look at them, apparently because they show a large visible tumor," Marcinkowski said. "That tumor is in his chest and had they looked at that X-ray they would've seen that because it nearly blocks half of his heart." 

    The vet named in the lawsuit has been licensed in Florida since 2004 and has no complaints on record. 

    "I want to encourage other pet owners to be vigilant, not be afraid to ask questions," Marcinkowski said.

    Her dog died three months ago and it's unclear whether anything could've been done to stop his death. 

    The lawsuit alleges that time could've been added to Max's life with proper diagnosis of the tumor and treatment.

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