I was attending a fundraiser pizza dinner as a part of my new single status in the world. It was my first time with this particular group and I didn’t know a single person in the restaurant. Everyone was nice and in a short period of time, I met several people who made it a point to make me feel welcomed. I was asked what I did for a living and shared my occupation. As usual, the news there is a veterinarian in the house spread like wild fire and people practically began to line up to meet me. Popularity is not all it is cut out to be.
One gentleman in particular launched into a conversation on his current and deceased pets. I listened for the first three minutes and then faked interest for the next three since it turned out not to be a conversation, but a dissertation. I don’t mind short conversations with strangers about their pets, but this was an instance that was taken too far. I took out my phone and pretended to check my Facebook account, the most obvious act of public rudeness and disinterest I could come up with at the moment. He took it as an indication to take out his phone and share pictures of his pets…current and deceased. At this point I handed him a business card, explaining it was nice to speak with him and if he would like to continue the conversation, to please contact me during business hours. He asked, “Do your watch “The Incredible Dr. Poll”? If not, you should, you could learn something for Dr. Poll.”
“The Incredible Dr. Poll” is one of several reality television programs starring colorful veterinarians and their practices. Although I am aware of the program, I have never watched it probably for many of the same reasons most doctors, lawyers, and pretty much any professional person does not watch any scripted or reality television programs based on their line of work: it is inaccurate, unrealistic, and they get enough of whatever they are in day to day life without it invading their leisure time. Another issue I have with reality television is that in truth it is not reality. I find it strange how it takes events of misfortune such as murders, illness, relationship issues, or selecting a person to marry and reduces them into entertainment. Modern day Christians vs the lions at the colosseum beamed into the comfort of our homes for our entertainment and supposed edification.
As for Dr. Poll, less you consider me a hater, let me say the following: I am sure he is a very nice person, has that “kindly elder statesman” demeanor, along with a huge and successful veterinary practice; all attributes I hope I either currently have and/or hope to have in the future. I watched the program for the first time on a recent Saturday night. Not only did I watch it, but I watched an entire 4 hour marathon. So what do I think of “The Incredible Dr. Poll”? Not very much and I want those 4 hours back!
Though I understand how the show is perceived as entertaining, it actually presents a very poor representation of a modern veterinarian. The biggest issue I have was the lack of infection control depicted throughout the episodes. There were repeated scenes of surgical procedures and invasive body examinations being performed without surgical or examination gloves along with the lack of preparation and sterilization of surgery sites and equipment. The proper and consistent use of infection control techniques and equipment is not only for the protection of the patients, but also the veterinarian. Some of the treatments shown were antiquated, and I was very disappointed with the unprofessional manor in which the veterinary profession was depicted. Instead of practicing veterinary medicine to the highest standard of the profession and their ability, the veterinarians in the program were practicing medicine to a level that was acceptable to the community they were serving. Doing so is not just unacceptable to the patients and clients but also unacceptable within the profession.
So I did learn something from watching “The Incredible Dr. Poll.” If that is what it takes to be an “incredible” veterinarian, I am okay with not being so and the adjective “incredible” is best reserved for superheroes.
Dr. Pierre B. Bland is a small animal practitioner who offers office and house call appointments to his clients. His offices are located at 3225 N. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and can be reached at 954 673-8579.