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Disciplinary Committee strikes off Bedfordshire vet

19 June 2013

Please note
This is an archived news story. Mr Munhuwepasi Chikosi was removed from the RCVS Register of Members on 25 July 2013 following the hearing and he is therefore not currently entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in the UK.

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee yesterday [18 June] struck off the Register a veterinary surgeon who delayed attending a dog that had been run over at a farm, causing her to suffer unnecessarily.

Following a two-day hearing, the Disciplinary Committee found Munhuwepasi Chikosi guilty of unreasonably delaying attending Mitzi, a fourteen-and-a-half-year-old Labrador cross, and of unnecessarily causing her to remain in pain and suffering for at least an hour.

[Mr Chikosi’s] failure to attend a seriously injured dog promptly in the circumstances described falls far short of the conduct to be expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon.”

On 9 September 2011, Mr Chikosi had been working as a locum veterinary surgeon, at the out-of-hours emergency service, when Mitzi’s owner telephoned him to say that his dog was severely injured and to request a home visit for the purpose of euthanasia.

At Mr Chikosi’s request, the owner attempted to bring Mitzi into the practice using a blanket. However, it was not possible to get Mitzi into a Land Rover, and she uncharacteristically bit the owner’s son, so her owner called the practice again.

Mr Chikosi repeated the request to bring the dog in, saying that he was unable to leave the practice because he was looking after other animals, but that he could possibly organise another veterinary surgeon to visit “probably within the next hour or two”.

The Committee considered Mr Chikosi’s actions in context of the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2011, which listed a number of factors for veterinary surgeons to consider when deciding whether to attend an animal away from the practice premises.

These included the likely treatment needed, the possibility of the animal being safely conveyed to the veterinary surgery, the health status of the animal and ability of the owner to manage the animal’s pain until veterinary attention could be sought during normal hours, and travelling time for the veterinary surgeon (see note).

However, the Committee found Mr Chikosi had made no enquiries to determine whether Mitzi was in a fit condition to be moved, and offered no advice as to how her condition could be alleviated whilst waiting for the home visit.

Further, his advice that Mitzi should be moved on a blanket was wrong, as she may have had an injured back*.

The Committee concluded that, from the outset, Mr Chikosi took the stance that he was unable to leave the practice because he was the only veterinary surgeon present.

However, the Committee noted, from the information available, that there were only three in-patients, no critical cases and a qualified veterinary nurse was present. It found there was no good reason why he should not have attended the farm, which was only 10 to 15 minutes’ drive away.

The Committee said that, by the time Mitzi’s owner called a second time, it was clear that the out-of-hours service was experiencing difficulty finding a second veterinary surgeon but, instead of going to the farm himself, Mr Chikosi waited another hour until the second veterinary surgeon arrived at the out-of-hours service.

“The Committee is satisfied that the delay caused Mitzi unnecessary suffering, which was evidenced by her uncharacteristically biting [her owner’s] son,” said Professor Peter Lees, chairing and speaking on behalf of the Committee.

“[Her owner] had recognised the severity of the injuries and the need for euthanasia as soon as was practicable. [Mr Chikosi’s] failure to attend a seriously injured dog promptly in the circumstances described falls far short of the conduct to be expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon.”

He directed that Mr Chikosi’s name be struck off the Register.

Note

The Committee listed the factors the Guide said should be taken consideration by a veterinary surgeon when deciding whether to attend an animal away from the practice premises. These included:

  • the location and state of the animal; 
  • the likely treatment needed; 
  • the possibility of the animal being safely conveyed to the veterinary surgery; 
  • the local availability of an animal ambulance service or something similar; 
  • the health status of the animal and ability of the owner to manage the animal’s pain until veterinary attention could be sought during normal hours; 
  • travelling time for the veterinary surgeon; 
  • the ability of the veterinary surgeon to make the visit in safety; 
  • the possibility of another person attending with the veterinary surgeon; and,
  • the local weather conditions.

* On 30 July 2103, the RCVS Operational Board issued a statement to say that, in its view, transportation of an injured dog with the aid of a blanket was acceptable, in most cases. Read the full statement.

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