The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has found a veterinary surgeon’s conduct did not amount to serious professional misconduct.
The hearing for Mr Paul Anderson Roger MRCVS took place between 15 and 19 November 2021 and on 25 April 2022. He faced three charges. It was alleged that in relation to his treatment of Honey, a Shih Tzu dog who was in his care on 30 January 2019, he had in a number of respects failed to provide appropriate and adequate care when investigating and managing her hyperglycaemia, had failed to adequately communicate with Honey’s owner and had failed to keep adequate clinical records in relation to Honey.
Mr Roger’s initial assessment of Honey included taking a blood sample, the results of which showed that there was an elevated blood glucose, an elevated white blood cell count, an elevated ALT and an elevated ALP (which Mr Roger took to be indicative of liver damage secondary to infection). He prescribed a cholagogue (ursodeoxycholic acid), an antibiotic (Synulox) and a diuretic (Frusemide).
In its findings of fact, the Committee found it likely that Mr Roger would have realised that Honey had a potential diabetes mellitus diagnosis with an elevated blood glucose of 28. Mr Roger explained he had believed that the elevated blood glucose was due to the stress Honey had undergone in taking the blood samples. The Committee found that Mr Roger’s actions on 30 January 2019 did not indicate a complete failure by him to notice the elevated blood glucose because he had explained he believed at the time it was due to stress.
Honey’s owner took her back to the veterinary practice that Mr Roger worked at three days later. A different veterinary surgeon examined Honey and flagged that her blood sugar was high and that her liver was damaged. She was taken to an alternative veterinary practice for follow-up but died later that day.
Mr Roger made a number of admissions at the outset of the hearing. These admissions were failing to ask Honey’s owner if there was a history of diabetes mellitus, failing to take repeat blood glucose tests or carry out urine analysis or carry out additional blood tests, failing to communicate adequately with Honey’s owner about the significance of the hyperglycaemia and the options for investigation/management and failing to keep adequate clinical records in regard to Honey’s blood glucose levels. The Committee found the admitted facts proved.
The evidence presented to the Committee included the clinical notes taken during Honey’s consultations, emails sent from Honey’s owner to the RCVS outlining the complaint, and evidence from experts in small animal veterinary practice. Although the Committee found some matters not proved, it did find proved that Mr Roger had failed to recognise and/or pay adequate regard to Honey’s elevated blood glucose levels, had failed to manage Honey’s hyperglycaemia either by treating it or by documenting an appropriate plan to do so and had failed to communicate adequately with Honey’s owner about the significance of her elevated glucose and the reason for it.
Having reached its decision in relation to the facts, the Committee went on to consider whether the facts it had found proved either individually or cumulatively amounted to serious professional misconduct.
Judith Way, Chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf said: “The Committee found that the charges and particulars it had found proved did not amount to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect either individually or cumulatively. In its judgment, the conduct found proved fell short of the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon but not far short of the standard which is expected of the reasonably competent veterinary surgeon.”
As a result of the Committee finding that Mr Roger was not guilty of serious professional misconduct on any of the proven charges, either individually or in any combination, the hearing did not proceed further.