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DC takes no further action against London-based vet

25 July 2019

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disciplinary Committee has decided to take no further action against a London-based veterinary surgeon who was brought in front of the Committee for charges regarding the care of a pregnant Chihuahua named Kika.

The hearing for Eleonora Corsi took place from Monday 3 June to Tuesday 11 June (excluding 6 June) and with an extra day on Wednesday 19 June, in relation to five charges against her. The first charge was that, on 14 December 2017, having previously consulted on 30 November 2017 with Kika’s owners in relation to the management of her pregnancy, and having on that occasion taken a radiograph of Kika which indicated the presence of at least four puppies, Dr Corsi failed to advise her owners that Kika required an immediate veterinary examination in circumstances where she was informed by the owner over the telephone that Kika had produced two live puppies and one dead puppy during the previous night.

The second charge was that, having been telephoned for a second time by the owner, she still failed to advise the owners that Kika required an immediate veterinary examination.

The third charge was that, following an examination of Kika that afternoon, and having ascertained that Kika required a caesarean section to remove one undelivered puppy, Dr Corsi failed to perform the caesarean section that day and advised the owner that Kika could undergo the caesarean section (at the practice, performed by her) the next day (or words to the effect). The charge also states that she failed to advise the owner that Kika’s health and welfare required the caesarean section to be performed that day; and that she failed to advise them that, if she or another veterinary surgeon at the practice could not perform the surgery that day, Kika needed to be referred to the out-of-hours clinic so that the caesarean section could take place on 14 December 2017.

The fourth charge was that Dr Corsi failed to recognise that Kika’s health and welfare required a caesarean section to be performed on 14 December 2017.

The fifth charge was that, on 16 December 2017, having been telephoned by the owner at about 5pm and having been informed that Kika was weak and had not been eating post-operatively, Dr Corsi failed to advise the owner that Kika should be presented urgently for a veterinary examination.

The Disciplinary Committee considered the facts of the case and heard evidence from a number of witnesses including the owners of Kika and Dr Corsi, and from Mr Maltman MRCVS who was called as an expert witness on behalf of the College and Mr Chitty, who was called as an expert witness on behalf of Dr Corsi.

Having considered all of the evidence, the Committee found all aspects of the first and second charges proven in their entirety.

The Committee found the majority of the third charge not proved, with the exception of the fact that it found that Dr Corsi did advise the owner that she could undertake the Caesarean section on 15 December 2017.

In light of the Committee’s findings in respect of the aspects of charge three that were not proved, charge four was also found not proved. Finally, the Committee considered that charge five was found not proved.

The Committee then went on to consider whether the charges that were found proven amounted to serious professional misconduct either individually and/or cumulatively.

“In light of the evidence of both parties’ experts, the Committee was of the view that there was a risk of harm or injury resulting from Dr Corsi’s failure - the Committee decided that this was an aggravating factor,” said Committee Chair Cerys Jones.

“However, the Committee took into account that, at the time of both calls, Dr Corsi had a rationale for her decision, that she asked appropriate questions and received answers which led her to make what she considered to be a reasoned assessment. She had also made arrangements in both calls to be kept updated either at a pre-arranged time or sooner if Kika’s condition changed. On this basis, the Committee was satisfied that, while this was an error of judgement, it did not fall so far short of what was expected as to amount to disgraceful conduct.”

Therefore, the Committee decided that while Dr Corsi’s conduct in Charges 1 and 2 demonstrated a departure from professional standards, the falling short was not so grave as to amount to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

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