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Vet Cited for Allegedly Treating Man Who Had to Get Toes Amputated

By Betty Wang, JD on August 19, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A veterinarian has been cited for allegedly treating humans after a man had to get his toes amputated, reports Denver's KCNC-TV. But the vet insists police are barking up the wrong tree.

The alleged patient, whose identity is not being released because of medical privacy protections, claimed he had to get three toes amputated after he was treated by veterinarian Fran Freemyer, 78, of Greeley, Colorado.

Freemyer, however, claims he'd been treating a dog for skin cancer and prescribed some medicine for it -- which the dog's owner then gave to the unnamed man without Freemyer's knowledge or consent.

Unauthorized Practice of Medicine Alleged

The alleged victim was apparently complaining about an ailment similar to the dog's, but on his foot, according to Freemyer. As a vet, Freemyer says he would never treat a human in his line of work.

Despite that defense, Freemyer has been charged with practicing medicine on humans without a license.

The unauthorized practice of medicine is illegal. It's generally found to occur when one gives medical advice or treatment without a professional license, according to Colorado's statute.

Veterinarians, of course, do not have the same professional license as doctors who treat human patients. The unauthorized practice of medicine can lead to a pretty severe penalty, depending on the circumstances of each case. This can include hefty fines or prison time, or both.

What Happens Next?

What will happen to Freemyer now that he has been cited? The process varies by state, but in general will involve an investigation by the state's medical board -- and sometimes the police as well.

In Colorado, the unauthorized practice of medicine is covered by a state regulation, as opposed to a criminal statute, CBS News reports. That means the Colorado Medical Board will now investigate the matter further.

A medical board investigation includes steps like interviewing the complainant, attempting to find other victims, gathering relevant medical documents, and conducting surveillance. In this case, police are asking anyone else who may have been treated improperly by Freemyer to come forward with information.

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