Don't I Have The Rights To My Dead Cat's X-Rays?

“Dear Consumerist,

I recently contacted my deceased pet’s (pictured at death) vet to request that they send me a series of full-body x-rays they shot about 7 years ago. While I haven’t been able to speak to a doctor or head administrator yet, the receptionists have informed me that x-rays and other medical images of their animal patients are the legal property of the hospital. They can loan the images out to me for a month, but then I must give them back. This seems really odd.”

First of all, I PAID out of pocket to have the x-rays taken. Second, the pet is deceased. There will be no need for any veterinarian to refer to those images ever again. Third, how can it be that I have full ownership rights to x-rays (that are paid for by my insurance company) of my own body, and yet I don’t own rights to my pet’s x-rays? There IS the possibility that, somewhere down the line, I signed a waiver of my rights to those images, but is it even legal for the vet to request such a waiver?

What’s the real deal here? While I’m sure very few people ever ask for their dead pet’s medical records, is there any chance you can look into this for me? How can I go about getting those x-rays in my hands?

Much appreciation from
the c-side

That is sad. “The c-side” said she was told this by a receptionist who wasn’t able to provide anything further. We say that she needs to speak with one of the doctors or hospital administrators to find out their basis for saying they own the x-rays. Does anyone else know?

Comments

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  1. lestat730 says:

    Is it possible to borrow the x-rays and make a copy of them somehow? Even if you just shine a light through it and take a shot on a digital camera, I bet it would work out alright. But still, he payed for them and deserves them if he wants them. God knows we pay insane prices for veterinary services and often the animals get better care then we get for ourselves! What the hell does the hospital need those x-rays for anyway?

  2. Graedus says:

    There is a walk-in clinic that I visited when my brother broke his arm. We took x-rays there and brought them to the hospital, but had to bring them back afterwards. I think they mentioned, as well, that it was their property, but we were also covered by OHIP (which is still covered by our taxes, but we didn’t pay for this directly).

    OHIP:Ontario Health Insurance Plan; covers our hospital “bills”.

  3. eelmonger says:

    Do we really need the first thing you see when you come to the site be a picture of a dead cat?

  4. humorbot says:

    Certainly you can scan them with any flatbed scanner and software that can recognize negatives.

    However, I’ve never encountered a vet that was unwilling to permanently release a pet’s records to the owner. I myself just requested my (non-deceased) cat’s x-rays from the vet. I signed a little form acknowledging the release of records and that they did not keep copies, and that was that. The x-ray films were mine to keep.

  5. Bay State Darren says:

    Probably afraid of a lawsuit (mal-catice?) and don’t wanna give you ammo. Not saying they harmed the furball, but this is America, land of the free and home of the lawyers. Their attorneys are saying to them, “Im in ur offiz, covering ur assez. X-rayz iz bad to discloze. Do not want.” (Sorry , I just had to do a lolcat joke.)

  6. kittyteeth says:

    I once asked about getting my dog’s x-rays and was told that vets are required by law to keep records for three years after the animal’s last visit, so perhaps this is why they won’t release the x-rays to you. (This is in California, btw.)

  7. humphrmi says:

    I had this happen to me when I had some x-rays of my back; I needed to “check them out” in order to have my employer’s OK-to-return-to-work medical company approve my return to work after an accident. I asked the hospital what they would do if I never returned them. The receptionist kinda looked at me sideways, and in a very low voice, said “Nothing. No court will hear a suit for x-rays you paid for.”

    IANAL, but it makes sense. The worst they can do to you is sue you, and you can demand a jury trial, and a jury is unlikely to side with a hospital demanding x-rays back that you paid for. They will have a very, very hard time explaining that to a jury.

    Again, IANAL, but I bet any lawyer would tell you the same thing.

  8. CurbRunner says:

    I guess I’m the only one here scratching my head as to why someone would want the x-rays of a dead cat, especially one that’s been dead for seven years.
    Is this for some kind of cult ritual or something?

  9. MercuryPDX says:

    I called my vet and asked:
    Vet: “The X-rays are considered medical records that we have to keep on file.”
    Me: “Even if the animal has passed.”
    V: “Yes. It doesn’t make a difference.”
    M: “Why is that?”
    V: “In case we need to provide ‘proof of care’, like if there is ever a question from the insurance company, or a lawsuit. We also might need them for identity purposes, like how the police would use dental records. Sometimes we use them for training and testing our vet techs.”
    M: “How long do you keep them for? Do you ever throw them away?”
    V: “We keep them indefinitely, there’s no expiration date. We have the records of every pet since our clinic opened. A lot of them are in storage.”
    M: “Is it possible to get a copy?”
    V: “I know there’s a place in Portland that can make copies. We can lend them out to the owner, but we do need them back.”

    Apparently it’s not just the OP’s vet that has this policy, and having it all explained out made sense to me. The OP should call and talk to her vet about it. The vet should also be able to provide info about where to get copies made.

  10. robotprom says:

    I’ve never been able to get my original x-rays from my doctors, but I’ve always been able to get copies. Why is getting copies from the vet unreasonable?

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    @CurbRunner: I agree that it’s sort of an odd request, but considering people and pets… not really.

    I know people that have kept the collar of their dog who passed, or wear the ID tag on a bracelet. A friend of mine buried his dog in the backyard at his parent’s house with a little tombstone and everything. Makes me wonder what would happen if and when his parents ever moved or sold the house, but it really helped him with the grieving process.

  12. bsankr says:

    @eelmonger:
    He’s sleeping… right?

  13. Shadowfire says:

    I guess if the x-ray belongs to the vet/doctor’s office/hospital, then the patient doesn’t need to pay for it, huh? :P

  14. Skeptic says:

    BY ROBOTPROM AT 09:32 PM

    I’ve never been able to get my original x-rays from my doctors, but I’ve always been able to get copies. Why is getting copies from the vet unreasonable?

    Because they will charge for the copies and they have no need for the originals.

    If your cat were still alive you could ask for the original records so that you could transfer to another vet. That might be harder to do with your pet’s recent passing–assuming they know.

    If they know that the cat is dead they no doubt have a fixed date after which the records will be discarded. The only reason to keep them is to defend against lawsuits, and pet malpractice lawsuits are pretty cheap since they are often limited to the “retail value” of the pet, so they probably don’t have a lot of incentive to keep them long.

    Mostly, it seems, they just don’t want you to have them and they are being petulant about it.

  15. catskyfire says:

    If memory serves, x-rays are made, in part, with silver. This makes the films expensive, but they can recycle them later on, and get both the silver back (or some company does) and they get some money.

    That’s part of why it’s owned by the company.

  16. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    First off, my condolances to the OP. Loss of a pet is a terrible thing, and it I know how it hurts! :(

    But what is happening is pretty standard practice. “Paying for the x-rays” doesnt give you the right to the films. Youre actually paying for the service as much as anything else, and the vet is well within their right to refuse to give them to you.

    You say “how can it be that I have full ownership rights to x-rays (that are paid for by my insurance company) of my own body…” but I tend to think that you are not speaking from experience, as I have never heard, in any state Ive lived or worked, of a hospital/doctor giving a patient their x-rays. Loan, yes. Provide so that the patient can get a copy made, yes. Maybe even provide a copy to them… but not give. There are very strict government regulations in place as well as the need to retain the films in case of lawsuits, HIPPA or Sarbanes-Oxley related audit/issue or in the event of some other sort of internal audit.

    You can be sure that in something you signed somewhere, this very type of thing is mentioned. But I am guessing that if you want copies of the films, they can either prvide them, or allow you to borrow them to have a copy made.

    But I hope this works our for you and Im sorry for your loss…

  17. bohemian says:

    Why they need old xrays of a recently deceased cat is a mystery. That might add to why the vet would not hand them over. Other posters were correct about clinics needing to keep records and xrays for legal and sometimes state law reasons.

    A vet clinic, even with newer equipment will not be able to make a copy of an xray film for you.

    The excuse given to MercuryPDX that they use them for training is nonsense.

  18. GrantGannon says:

    Me thinks if you ‘borrowed’ your dead cat’s X-rays to make copies and never returned them that the vet isn’t going to go through much trouble to try to get them back. I’m just sayin…

  19. humorbot says:

    Alright, I can see legit concerns, but again, my vet released my cat’s films to me without incident. This in California.

    Again, scanning in negative mode is a great way to make a copy of a loaned x-ray…

  20. humorbot says:

    Legit LEGAL concerns, sorry.

  21. ionerox says:

    I took my cat to the emergency vet a few years ago, after a traumatic falling-down the stairs and walking crooked for two hours incident.
    X-rays were involved, and once they determined kitty-idiot was okay they stuck them in an envelope, and sent me on my way with both them and the cat. I wish I still had them, but I donated them to a friend’s art project.

  22. humphrmi says:

    @catskyfire: This is why x-rays are expensive to consumers. If hospitals (human, vets, whatever) gave x-rays for free or even anywhere cost, I could understand this. I can see the argument that they need to CYA or have proof of care or some such,legal thing but recycling silver that you paid for? That’s pretty much theft, isn’t it?

  23. sly100100 says:

    So the worst that would happen is you “borrow” the xrays and don’t return them. What are they going to do get xray collectors after you!?
    I had xrays from my doctors and hospital and I haven’t returned them in 15 years, and I still go to that hospital and doctors office and they have never said anything to me.
    Beside you paid for them, and who gives them the right to use your cats xrays for studies and teaching.
    I have 7 cats and they have had there share of xrays and I have never had the vet ask for permission to use them as a teaching tool. So I don’t think that is reasonable.
    I would ask to speak to the office manager explain that your cat has been dead for 7 years and you want the xrays for whatever reason and ask if they will give them to you. The vet really has no need for them, and all they are doing is paying for storage.
    I am sure they will accommodate you if your asking the right person, i.e someone who can make those kinds of decisions. Receptionist don’t have much power in the office for making those choices.

  24. TPIRman says:

    @MercuryPDX: Major props for the original reporting!

  25. megshops says:

    Check with your state’s veterinary licensing board. My former vet refused to release my cat’s records to me until I let them know that the licensing board required it, and that I would be reporting them if they didn’t provide the information. I did have to pay a copying fee, but I got the records in the end.

  26. RvLeshrac says:

    For the record, you’re paying for the *procedure* of taking the X-Ray, you aren’t paying for the film.

    If, however, your local doctor/vet/whatever charges you for the film, then the X-Ray is legally yours – they aren’t “hazardous,” and don’t require special disposal.

  27. synergy says:

    @CurbRunner: I was wondering the same thing along with wondering why no one had wondered why s/he would want the x-rays. I do agree that the owner should be able to ask for and be able to keep the x-rays.

  28. outphase says:

    *Law student disclaimer* This not legal advice.

    The information contained on the documents is yours, but the documents themselves are the property of the hospital. This usually covers the vet (or a hospital) from profiting from your medical data, but you are not free to take the documents unless the vet (or hospital) gives them to you.

    It’s strange, but there is co-ownership of the medical records.

  29. txinfo says:

    It doesn’t matter why he wants the X-Rays. He paid for them.

    I agree with several of the others on here.

    ‘Borrow’ the X-Rays and then, ooops, somehow you can’t find them. I wonder where they went. I will look form them when I get home.

  30. mantari says:

    I got a ‘recreational x-ray’ of my cat when it was pregnant. We wanted to know how many kittens it was going to have, so that we could make sure the delivery went well. (The x-rays were taken late enough in the pregnancy that the risk to the kittens was extremely low.)

    Even though there was no real reason for them to keep the x-rays (like for proof of anything… we went in for x-rays and that was it), they wouldn’t let us walk out with them. But I was welcome to use my digital camera in whatever lighting I wanted in order to make a copy of the image for myself.

    Go figure. But I suppose it makes only slightly more sense than the optometrist who refuses to give you your eyeglass or contact lens solution, saying that they belong to him only.

  31. mantari says:

    ^ contact lens PRESCRIPTION. Not solution. Sorry.

  32. Falconfire says:

    @RvLeshrac: for the cost that most vets charge for xrays, you most certainly are paying for the xray film.

  33. MercuryPDX says:

    @Johnny: Thanks, but it was a lucky coincidence. She just called about 20 minutes prior to me seeing the article to check on my dog. He tore a foot pad on Tuesday. They gave him an orange smiley face bandage, but he’s not so happy about it. I just called her back and asked.

    @bohemian: The vet didn’t say she could make a copy, she knew of a place in Portland that does/could. And why is it so hard to believe that X-ray’s can’t be valuable as training tools?

  34. MercuryPDX says:

    Just a heads up… The page that last link goes to is ok, clicking beyond that page may lead to photos of pet surgeries.

  35. SOhp101 says:

    @mantari: “contact lens prescription”

    … which is illegal in CA. Oddly enough the average optometrist’s/veterinarian’s tactics on “intellectual property” is pretty darn near the level of the RIAA/MPAA.

    2nd rate “advanced” degree, 2nd rate service. Yes, it’s an extreme stereotype and I apologize to those people in those professions that are honest and forthright with their clients, but I cannot think of one positive experience with a vet/optometrist when it came to choosing to buy the drugs/glasses/lenses elsewhere. I appreciate the ‘convenience’ they provide but I think I’d rather save over 50% by making the purchase elsewhere.

    My cat has renal failure and the vet charged us $10 per bag of lactated ringer’s solution (i think that’s what it’s called) that we have to administer every night. If you’re wondering what’s in it, it’s a saline solution. Yes, that’s it. Ten freaking dollars for salt water. Turns out that Costco sold the bag for ~$2 each. After requesting a prescription, she charged an additional $20 “handling fee” for giving us a written prescription.

    Unfortunately there is no law against vets from charging a fee for writing prescriptions, but the vet board in CA does not recommend to charge fees. Needless to say we dropped her like it’s hot and we haven’t called the greedy bitch since.

    As for the optometrist, they refused to give me the prescription until I mentioned that it’s against CA law to withhold a lens prescription. That was my first, and last time ever going there.

  36. RvLeshrac says:

    @Falconfire:

    You’re making an assumption. You can’t assume that you’re buying something simply based on the cost. Hospitals frequently charge $5,000+/night for a room, but you’re not buying the room… even though that could pay a month’s rent in a New York loft.

  37. Anonymous says:

    In Nevada, I broke my arm and the hospital gave me the original X-rays to give to a doctor at the next hospital I visited (the hospital did not have an orthopedic doctor on staff). I still have those X-rays today. The hospital in California also easily made me a CD of my X-Rays, FOR FREE.

    Not once has any hospital claimed that they owned my X-Rays.

    Secondly I took a picture of my X-Ray (to post online) by holding the X-Ray up to a light, putting a white paper behind it and taking a photo. It came out perfectly.

  38. LAGirl says:

    i have the entire file of all my x-rays + MRI films from car accident + surgery. i ‘borrowed’ them from my surgeon’s office to bring to another doctor for review. haven’t been back to see my surgeon, so i still have them. guess i could return them. but they’ve never said anything.

  39. JustIcedCoffee says:

    If you “owned” the X-Rays, why didn’t you bring them home immediately after taking them?
    First off — if you paid for ‘them’ you should have made the agreement that you would take them home with you before the X-rays were taken. Then you left without them and never asked for them in 7 years?
    second off- perhaps you want the records, and will then sue the VET, and say there were x-rays that showed a life threatening issue that the vet never found– the vet would be obliged to produce the x-rays to the court… “oh you took the x-rays, but don’t have them for court today?… but you say the cat didn’t have 27 fractures? We have to take your word for it Dr VET?
    Third off –You do not “own’ x-rays taken of your own body, what ever made you think that you did? This is a great example of faulty logic… I have an imaginary right, so my cat must as well?
    Lastly.. you’ve signed a million forms think one might have covered this situation?

  40. kamikasee says:

    @catskyfire: One other thing about the silver. Most of the silver ends up in the developing solution, not on the developed film. The solution is considered hazardous and must be disposed of accordingly.

    My dad is a veterinarian and he uses a service that takes the solution, extracts the silver, and disposes of it safely. They don’t charge him for it. So the value of the silver basically goes to pay for the cost of the disposal.

  41. mamacat49 says:

    OK, let’s get this straight once and for all:
    when you (or your pet or your child or anyone) has an x-ray or procedure done at a hospital, you own the INFORMATION obtained from that test (IE: the results), not the ACTUAL STUFF USED TO MAKE THE REPORT. If you follow the logic of “I had an x-ray, I want to take it with me” then you must surely want the used needles for a blood draw,the cup you peed in, the glove from your rectal exam, and anything else you touched while in the hospital or while having a procedure done. You are paying for the INFORMATION obtained from the test, and yes, that includes film and supply costs.
    In most of the US, x-rays must physically be kept for 5-7 yrs, unless it’s a child (kept until the child is at least 21, then the 5-7yr rule kicks in) or it’s a mammogram (keep forever). All hospitals have the ability to copy a film, however most large facilities are now “filmless”–everything is done on computers. They have the right to charge you for a copy if they have to print it (THAT film doesn’t have any silver in it—not that it was that much to begin with).
    And you know what? They might not even have your cat’s x-rays anymore–maybe that’s why they’re not giving them to you. Are you upset that they pitched them? Probably, but too bad. They recycle used, old x-ray film (it’s mostly plastic, not biodegradable stuff). Old film can’t just go in the garbage–all identifying info on it has to be destroyed, and that includes the image.
    I am so sick of this “argument.” Let all of the questions and comments end now. Thank you.
    P.S. Sorry your cat died. Been there.

  42. Gopher bond says:

    I always bring my own X-ray film for this express purpose. It’s not that expensive, $50 for a dozen of 14×17’s. They’ll try to give you crap about how it doesn’t fit in there machine but that’s bull, you can use smaller film in larger machines and you can cut film if it’s too large.

  43. cabalist says:

    Forget the CYA reasoning. The X-rays are yours, you paid for them. The vet did not do the X-rays for free and you did not have insurance so you paid for them. If they need to keep them for any reason then THEY need to make a copy. If they want to cover their ass then THEY need to make a copy instead of STEALING yours–that you paid for.

    ’nuff said.

    richard

  44. ViperBorg says:

    Poor kitty. :(

  45. Bobg says:

    My grandson broke his arm Monday. My daughter needed the x-rays for the orthopedic doctor. The first doctor stated that the x-rays had to remain with him and the my daughter would have to pay for copies.

    It seems that in this day and age that as a consumer your rights went with your money when you paid for the item or service. What happened to the concept of gaining a customer for life.

  46. cabalist says:

    …and “imaginary right”? If the patient did not pay for the X-ray then the vet did. Does anybody believe that the vet actually paid for something versus charging the owner (except in hard ship cases–I have worked in a vet office and she did give a lot on hard ship cases). If the vet did not charge for the X-rays then the vet is losing money.

    As far as “imaginary rights”–I call shenanigans. If I paid for it it doesn’t take a lot of imagination, or intellect for that matter, to know that it belongs to me. Why? Because I paid for it. That is the basis of capitalism for good or ill.

    If I take it and later claim that the vet “missed” something then I will have to provide it in court. If the vet wants a backup copy then they should make one at their own expense. I am not going to subsidize their CYA activities any more than someone else subsidizes my own.

    My $.02

    Richard

  47. RandomHookup says:

    Let’s start with medical records of biped animals… The issue of ownership of medical records seems to fall on the side of the doc.

    Here’s something I found online:

    Notes made in treating the patient are primarily for the physician’s own use and constitute his or her personal property. (With regard to ownership of medical records, the New York State courts have consistently held that the medical records are the property of the physician, not the patient. [In Re Culbertson’s Will, 57 Misc.2nd 391, 292 N.Y.S.2nd 806 (1968)])

    My guess is that the vet is asserting ownership (with some CYA thrown in). I know my dentist wanted to charge me when I tried to transfer my records to a new dentist.

    Oh, and IANAL.

  48. cabalist says:

    That sucks about NY state’s position on physician notes (likely to be similar throughout the country). However, notes and X-rays (and people Dr.s versus vets) are different things.

    richard

  49. drierp says:

    When it comes to people.. The doctor/dentist/hospital/… owns your records.. End of story.. And thanks to HIPPA, they’re not allowed to release them without your consent, and are responsible for maintaining them properly.. People are, however, entitled to a “reasonably priced copy” of their records to be provided in a “reasonable” timeframe..

    If one were to transfer these rights to pets, then you’d be entitled to a copy of the xray, and not the original.. Legally though, I’m pretty sure pet records don’t hold the same status as human ones.

  50. Youthier says:

    I would try to offer some commentary but I have no idea why you would even want these.

    Does anyone here work at a vet’s office? I know for humans and from working at a chiropractor’s office, we had to retain x-rays for 7 years, pre-HIPAA and we loaned x-rays out or charged for copies (Not that we ever followed up to see if you returned them or not). I left as HIPAA came into effect and “improved” everything.

  51. The Reviewer says:

    The law/presidence this falls under is the same that it would fall under going to glamor shots, having a wedding photographer take pics at your wedding, or you being a model, and someone taking your pics, you do not own those pics, the photographer does. You signed away your rights to those images. Same law, different type of picture.

  52. savvy9999 says:

    The Reviewer has the last, correct word on the subject. Unless you work out a prior agreement with the photographer/x-rayer, the negatives/originals are theirs.

    You may certainly ask to buy them, but they are under no obligation to sell them to you (again, unless it was a condition of the original agreement).

    When we got married, we specified in our contract that we could have the option to buy the original negatives from our photog 3 years later at a discount price. Haven’t done a thing with them, but nevertheless, neither has anyone else. And we were so pretty!

  53. joe_gillis says:

    You might want to contact the board or agency that licenses vets in your state to see if they have any medical records regulations that might give you some rights.

  54. SadSam says:

    I would say that in the human world you don’t own the original x-rays. Yes you can pay to have a copy made but few (if any) doctors will allow you to take the originals. Seems like the same rules likely apply in the pet world. The vet is probably obligated to keep records for a certain period of time (including test records like films). I’d look at your state statutes governing same.

  55. bbbici says:

    I used x-rays for an art project years ago and they scanned just fine with a normal computer scanner.

  56. rrapynot says:

    I don’t know about vets but in the human world x-ray images are the property of the hospital or clinic that took them. They are required by Title 17 to keep them for 7 years. Mammograms are the only exception, the hospital is only the custodian and these x-rays are the property of the patient. In order for an x-ray to remain diagnostic quality they must be copied with special eqipment. A regular document scanner just isn’t up to the task. However most places tghese days have moved over to PACS which takes digital x-rays and stores them in large storage arrays. This makes burnign copies to Cd very cheap and easy.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think there is anything particularly unique to the medical world about this.

    If you hire a photographer to take your photo, in the absense of any specific contract to the contrary, the photographer owns (1) the physical negatives (for traditional photography), as well as (2) the copyright to the photographs, as the creator.

    This is true even though you are “paying” for the photographs. As for copyright, it’s simple, garden-variety Title 17 copyright law.

    The bloggers on Consumerist own the copyrights to their posts unless there is an explicit transfer-on-invoice provision in their contracts. Writers in general own the copyright to articles they write, even though a publication “pays” for them, unless the copyright is specifically transferred.

    What you’re paying for is the service to have the X-rays made and interpreted by professionals. Beyond that, you need to read the fine print.

  58. rrapynot says:

    Some people said “He paid for the x-rays, he own them”. Not true. You pay a technical fee to take the picture and a professional fee for a vet to interpret the image.

  59. derobert says:

    @humphrmi: It’d be a suit at equity (“return our property” – a type of specific performance), so you’d likely not have the right to jury trial. Only if they wanted damages would there be a jury trial.

  60. pestie says:

    @eelmonger: This, coming from someone with a user avatar that appears to be a gaping vagina?

    I always wanted to work the phrase “gaping vagina” into a post on Consumerist…

  61. FLJOE says:

    Verizon FIOS TV also adds unrequested service to an account.

    When I moved to a new home, I had my FIOS TV and HSI moved. My first statement after the move was almost double the previous statement. A line by line investigation showed premium packages added (movie channel, HBO) in addition to new unjustified activation charges. After speaking with several CSRs I was told I couldn’t speak to a supervisor but one would call me but couldn’t tell me when. Four hours later I got the call and 30 minutes after that the charges were reversed.

  62. FLJOE says:

    Should have gotten a CAT scan instead of X-Rays

  63. FLJOE says:

    above posted in error

  64. RandomHookup says:

    @pestie:

    “Gaping Vagina” will be my next user name on Gawker.com.

  65. SuperShawn says:

    Weird. I have a copy of my MRI that shows the tumor (benign thank you very much) in my sinus cavity near the front of my brain. I framed it- it makes an excellent conversation piece. The doctor laughed when I asked for it and handed it right over.

    Hmm, was your cat underage? Maybe it’s considered “kitty porn” (thanks, I’ll be here all week. Please up your waitresses).

  66. ahdn says:

    This seems bogus to me. Recently, I’ve been dealing with my sick dog who has cancer, heart conditions, etc. My regular vet takes x-rays and gladly gives them to me so that I can take them around town to specialists so as to not cause more trauma to both my dog and my pocketbook. All I need do is call the front desk and say, “Hey, I’m coming to get those x-rays.” And they say, “Sure thing! They’ll be waiting for you!”

  67. mamacat49 says:

    @testsicles:
    seriously–you actually buy x-ray film?? If you brought it to me to use, I’d laugh in your face. There are many different types and sizes of film (and screens and x-ray cassettes) and they are NOT all interchangeable. Every facility has their own equipment for a reason–they know how to make a quality image with it! and FYI–film expires. But it makes a great straight edge when painting a room.

  68. kellyd says:

    @eelmonger: I agree–poor taste to show a photo of a dead cat.

  69. Brookshire says:

    [www.avma.org]

    Go here read, if you do not find your answer, then call the association and ask them. My guess is it varies from state to state. Call the licensing board and ask them as well.

    Or take them on loan and bolt. :)

    I would have loved to have seen a picture of your cat when he/she was alive. Curious who took the picture of your cat deceased? You or the vet staff?

  70. aydiosmio says:

    So, have we confirmed the status of the cat in the post photo? Dead or alive? I’m waiting to be offended and I’m not in a patient mood!

  71. Her Grace says:

    When you have an x-ray done, you are not paying for the film itself. You are paying for the technical expertise of the tech, the machinery used to take it, the time spent by the hospital, and the information it can provide. The film (or, more likely these days as many hospitals are filmless, computer screens) isn’t yours. It’s part of the cost that the hospital covers.

    The negatives to a photo shoot (wedding, school, any professional photography) belong to the photographer, not the customer. The rights to custom artwork belong to the artist. The actual x-rays belong to the hospital which took them unless there is another agreement in place (some states do grant them to the patient). In this case, they belong to the vet. I’m kind of disgusted (but not particularly surprised) that many have advocated stealing them simply because the vet won’t likely pursue legal action. Guess what? Target won’t sue you if you steal less than $25 worth of merchandise! Will you be taking advantage of this deal as well?

  72. smartwatermelon says:

    @eelmonger: I agree. I wouldn’t say I’m “offended” but I am disappointed. I would not like to have to add consumerist to my no-images filter. Please don’t do this again.

  73. theobromide says:

    Here is the California Law, at least (I work for a vet and was looking it up – it’s how I found this site):

    “BARCLAYS OFFICIAL CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS
    TITLE 16. PROFESSIONAL AND VOCATIONAL REGULATIONS
    DIVISION 20. VETERINARY MEDICAL BOARD
    ARTICLE 4. PRACTICE
    This database is current through 11/02/07, Register 2007, No. 44
    s 2032.3. Record Keeping; Records; Contents; Transfer.

    c)(1) Radiographs are the property of the veterinary facility that originally ordered them to be prepared. Radiographs shall be released to another veterinarian upon the request of another veterinarian who has the authorization of the client. Radiographs shall be returned to the veterinary facility which originally ordered them to be prepared within a reasonable time upon request. Radiographs originating at an emergency hospital shall become the property of the next attending veterinary facility upon receipt of said radiograph(s). Transfer of radiographs shall be documented in the medical record.”

    This was from the California Veterinary Medical Board’s website.

    Opinions are like you-know-what, when they ain’t right, they stink. -Eric