Dog owner winning first ever lawsuit against a veterinary hospital in Thailand

photo via Ma Jour and friends หมาเจ๋อและเพื่อน Facebook

The owner of a labrador named ‘Journey’ who died on the operating table filed Thailand’s first-ever lawsuit against a veterinary hospital and is winning. Journey’s owner, who is claiming financial and emotional damages, has won the first of three court hearings.

11 year old Journey was suspected to have a tumour in her lung and walked into the operating room for an endoscopy and biopsy in 2019. The procedure was not considered to be risky or dangerous and Journey’s lab results showed that she didn’t have any underlying conditions that would mean she wouldn’t survive the surgery.

Tissana Deuandao, Journey’s owner, decided to begin the lawsuit process just a week after Journey’s death because it was clear the veterinary hospital was unethically distorting information and making excuses for Journey’s death.

The court has ruled that the veterinarian who performed the surgery negligently and the veterinary hospital will be jointly liable to cover the damages, providing Tissana wins the next two court hearings.

“I’m not doing this for money, but because I want to exercise my legal rights and so that this case can be a lesson for veterinary hospitals to have ethical treatments.”

Journey’s owner showed ThaiPBS her 5-kilogram mound of paperwork that she has compiled in her fight for justice for Journey. To stand up in court, you need to understand both the law and veterinary procedures, she said.

Tissana wants pet owners to know that although fighting in the legal realm of veterinary medicine is hard, it is not impossible.

“I didn’t intend to file a lawsuit to claim for damages. A strong dog walked into the operating room himself. They persuaded us that the operation was good, safe and not dangerous to the dog. I just want out family to be the last family to cry due to negligence.”

“No one in Thailand has ever filed a lawsuit against a veterinary hospital because not only do pet owners need money for lawyers but they have to endure a constant traumatic state of mind and repeatedly recount their loss.”

The outcome of the lawsuit isn’t finalised, but Tissana’s success in the first court hearing proves that the court sees pets as important assets of their owners, according to Tissana’s attorney Agart Vasikchat.

Tissana has claimed one million baht in emotional damages and 70,000 baht in material damages for the cost of Journey’s care. It is easy for the court to see material damage, but much harder for them to see emotional damage in any case, explained Agart.

Tissana has set up a Facebook page called ‘Ma Jour and Friends’ to support other pet owners whose animals face negligence at the hands of veterinarians.


Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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