Monday, July 22, 2013

So What Would YOU Do? Feeling Outraged!

I have that sinking feeling right now - where you have mounting bills and not enough money to pay them.  One thing adding to that stress? The "Dog Bite Fiasco" I call it.

A few weeks back my girls enjoyed a fabulous week of camp at the Minnesota Zoo.  On the last day, during the supervised lunch break, Julia got a dog bite.  Yes. A DOG BITE AT ZOO CAMP.  After her dad picked her up and I was reading with her in the evening, I noticed a deep cut by her eye (her hair had been covering it and it took me a couple hours to notice).  When I asked what happened she told me a dog bit her at camp.

I made her repeat it a few times, I didn't quite believe her! She said it was a large black dog one of the campers had and she bent to pet him and attacked her face - a deep gash by her eye and teeth marks on her nose and lip.  She asked the teacher for a bandaid and they gave her one - without asking what happened! This was a teenage boy that is supposed to supervise lunch, not the camp instructor.

I called the doctor Saturday and was told a dog bite is a big deal and I need to bring her into urgent care.  Her grandparents were up from Mexico and since she had camp the day before, this was her only chance to visit with them - she missed out since we were in UC all day.  The doctor MADE me file a police report. Since we were unable to track down info on the dog that morning (I called the zoo but it would need more research) she was forced to get a rabies vaccine.

This is not a "little deal." The first time was shots in BOTH arms and thighs AND into the cuts on her face.  2 nurses and myself held her down while a doctor stuck a huge needle in her face.  She screamed and writhed and blood oozed out of her face.  It was heartbreaking.  We had to return for 3 more shots over the next 2 weeks.  Yes, her 12th birthday was marked by a trip to urgent care for another shot.  And the vaccine is not common enough to have at the clinic by our house, we had to drive 20 minutes south each time.

Also, her eye would have needed stiches but it was too late, the leaders at camp did not take immediate action and we lost our window.
 This is Sunday, 2 days later, swelling has gone down, looking much better!

After several phone calls, a gal from the zoo did manage to locate the dog owner.  I spoke to the police officer handling the case and opted not to press charges or have the dog put down.  I did find out that it was a grandpa picking up a camper.  He brought an unleashed, unlicensed, unvaccinated ROTWEILER onto zoo property and into the pickup area.  So she would've need the shots anyway. The guy is in his 80s and I am supposed to pursue him myself for payment of my medical bills? NO!

I have now been working to pay for the medical bills.  My insurance will not bill the zoo directly, I am to have the zoo's liability insurance and the zoo can choose to pursue the dog owner if they want. When I talk to the zoo they tell me to pursue the dog owner myself and there is nothing they can do.  They are not apologetic it happened WHILE IN THEIR PAID SUPERVISION, they deny fault and blow me off.  I am livid.

Not to be blown off I called again and asked for their General Council (attorney) or Director or anyone in charge.  They took a message.  GRRR!  This morning I spoke to Risk Assessment with the State of Minnesota.  The Zoo is state agency and I basically it's "a fishy area" and I can fill out claims but likely they will not pay.  HUH?!?!

What. The. BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP?!?!?! Seriously!? I PAID you to watch my child, I informed you of her special needs.  This was a HUGE deal for us and the shots are NOT CHEAP.  I AM SO LIVID right now!!

What do I do next? I am being told by the zoo you can't sue the state, it is not possible to pursue any action against them.  But what about the next camper in their care that chokes on gum or something? Clearly, their definition of "supervision" is pretty lacking...

Although I realize the actual dog owner is most at fault, I am frustrated that the zoo has not apologized or done anything.  I know they need to deny fault to protect themselves, but I feel so helpless and invalidated right now. :(