September 1, 2006

To Guam Board of Allied Health Examiners

This letter is written in regard to Joel Schiff, aka Joel Joseph. Dr Schiff worked for me for the better part of a year. During that time, I noticed extremely poor sterile procedure practiced by Dr Dchiff and some very sloppy surgical techniques. He has an excellent bedside manner and is good at convincing clients of the need for medical and surgical procedures. But his conduct of those procedures was often crude and lacking in sterile technique.

After he left my practice, a client asked if she could return some antibiotics that she had purchased from the clinic and for which Dr Schiff established the price. I said sure and expected to refund her about $20 which would be typical for the prescription involved (Chloramphenicol). I was shocked to learn that he had charged her $160. He was being paid on a commission basis so increasing charges would gather him more money. I refunded the money. Similarly, he would take a radiographs on many many cases, far more than was justified medically. These are expensive procedures which again would gain him a high commission.

Also, after he left the practice, I was told a story by a client that she had called his cell number on a weekend about an emergency, thinking that she was calling my clinic. She was told by Schiff to bring her dog to my clinic. He met her outside the (closed) door, took the pet and then returned it directly to her house. During the last part of his stay at my practice, he would buy a large volume of drugs and supplies at my expense for his own use for practice on the side. I did not have adequate inventory control to verify that he reimbursed me fully for these, but my feeling is that they were not completely reimbursed.

While he was setting up his practice in Pohnpei, my drug bills were twice to three times what they normally were. Again, I cannot verify this but I strongly suspect he took drugs and supplies from my practice without paying for them to stock his Pohnpei practice.

While preparing for an avian influenza outbreak, I realized that having a respirator could be handy. I had purchased a Bird (brand) respirator several years before. It was sitting in a box under my desk. Although I searched the clinic high and low, I could never find it. Just recently, I was told by Barry Cox at the Merizo Zoo where Schiff had set up a clinic, that Schiff had told him that he had taken a lot of equipment from me because I had not paid him. I described the respirator and he said that yes, Schiff had that.

When queried about how to sharpen clipper blades, Schiff told me that he enjoyed sitting down with a marijuana joint and sharpening away while getting stoned.

[Second-hand reporting redacted]

While in Pohnpei, he had trouble of some sort and had to quickly leave the country. However, he was blocked at the airport. He sought the assistance of Fred Ramp, an attorney who spent his entire Sunday working to get Schiff released. Then when Ramp submitted a bill for his services, it was never paid.

Also from Pohnpei, where I had established a practice where I would visit several times a year, Schiff took my client lists and cold-called my clients to offer his services. One client, Atty Craig Reffner, was quite upset over the lack of ethics displayed.

I have been a licensed veterinarian for 26 years. As an overall impression of Joel Schiff, aka Joel Joseph, I have never known a veterinarian of such low ethical standards. He is unethical in his treatment of other professionals. He is unethical in his treatment of clientele. His medical and surgical skills are sloppy at best and dangerous when he is having an off day. I would HIGHLY recommend that nobody get involved in any way with him. His sweet talking abilities are excellent so he can take people off guard very easily. He uses this skill to allow himself to take unfair advantage of clientele and other veterinarians. He is highly skilled at not leaving an evidence trail, but anyone who has worked closely with Schiff will have the same story to tell of eventually realizing they have been blinded by his sweet talk while he was setting them up for some sort of foul play. Guam will be a far better place for pets and pet owners without Schiff being licensed to practice in the Territory.

There is however one very positive thing about the Schiff situation. Although the veterinary professionals in Guam don't often agree on anything, they have all come together in one regard. They ALL want Schiffto stop practicing in Guam, and not for competitive greed, but rather for the safety of the pets and people of Guam.

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Joseph Edhlund, DVM
Marianas Vet Care Rte 8, Barrigada