I don't envy you as you meet this Thursday to address, among other agenda items, what to do about Dr. Pol.
You must fulfill the "obligation to take disciplinary action against licensees who have adversely affected the public's health, safety, and welfare" (1) by upholding the established standards of your state (2).
You have, in multiple episodes of the "Incredible Dr. Pol" show, inarguable violations of the Public Health Code by failure to meet established state standards. These violations are committed by a licensee who is already on probation after having been found guilty of negligence and incompetence. Said licensee has since publicly stated he feels "that his clinic made no mistakes in the case" and was misled at his hearing (3).
Said licensee has two associates, both also on probation after having been found guilty of negligence and incompetence while in his employ. One was found guilty in the same complaint (4, 5) and one in a different case (6). The second complaint also involved a case resulting in potentially avoidable death.
But while you must prosecute failure to meet minimum standards, you must not persecute. Dr. Pol is a caring, dedicated professional who has day and night answered the call to provide service to his clients and their animals for 41 years. That commands respect and requires that his dignity be guarded and his reputation upheld throughout the proceedings against him.
But proceeding against this one veterinarian will not address the reason I started the petition (7) on Change.org, calling on National Geographic to cancel the show. It will not prevent the portrayal of substandard care as acceptable. Nor will it prevent the provision of substandard care in the first place. To those ends, I ask you to consider enacting the following policies:
If on probation, a licensee
-may not teach or host externs, students, preceptors, volunteers or anyone seeking instruction or demonstration of practice;
-may not speak, write, serve as an expert witness in court or appear in any media for public broadcast in the role of a licensed professional;
-must have the license immediately suspended if evidence of new or continuing violation is observed;
-must demonstrate not only attendance at continuing education but mastery of the material presented AND application in practice of what was mastered.
Additionally, a letter from the Board to National Geographic would ensure that the producers are aware the licensed professionals featured on the show are, in fact, not fully licensed in the state of Michigan, due to violations of the Michigan minimum practice standards.
On behalf of the almost 1500 veterinarians, technicians, assistants and animal owners who signed the petition- and the hundreds of thousands of clients and animals we represent- I thank you for the attention you will give this matter when you meet tomorrow night. We look forward to your response.
Eden Myers DVM
For the benefit of those wishing to consult the background material of this situation:
(1) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine authority and constitution
(2) MVMA Minimum Recommended Standards for Companion Animal Veterinary Practices
(3) "The Incredible Dr Pol" Asserts Innocence Despite Board Discipline
(4) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine complaint and order against Dr Jan Pol
(5) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine complaint and order against Dr. Brenda Grettenberger
(6) Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine complaint and order against Dr. Eric Gaw
(7) National Geographic: Cancel the "Incredible Dr. Pol"