The Disciplinary Committee has suspended a veterinary surgeon from the register for three months, for not carrying out or arranging the euthanasia of a cat, and for dishonesty in his subsequent account of events.
At the outset of the two-day hearing, Mr Bogdanowicz admitted all the parts of the charge, which related to events occurring around 24 June 2011, whilst he was working at Best Friends Veterinary Group, Thrapston.
The Committee was asked to decide if Mr Bogdanowicz's actions amounted to serious professional misconduct and to decide upon any sanction.
Mr Bogdanowicz had been requested by the owners of Jason, a 14-year old Maine Coon cat, to undertake euthanasia, rather than further treatment following abdominal surgery.
Unknown to Jason's owners, Mr Bogdanowicz instead allowed a registered veterinary nurse to take the cat home, from where it subsequently escaped.
Mr Bogdanowicz then colluded in an attempt made by the veterinary nurse to cover up what had occurred and only told the truth when discrepancies in the nurse's story were challenged by the practice.
In mitigation, the Committee was satisfied Mr Bogdanowicz's decision not to put the cat to sleep was taken without full reflection on the consequences of the decision.
It was also satisfied that there was no evidence of injury to Jason and no payment had been sought or made for putting the cat to sleep. He had apologised to the cat's owners and was truthful to the College after the complaint was made.
Mr Bogdanowicz had an otherwise unblemished career and produced impressive testimonials from his clients as evidence of the high regard in which he was held.
However, the Committee also found that despite having had several occasions to tell his employers the truth, Mr Bogdanowicz had done so only after inconsistencies were revealed in the account of the veterinary nurse.
By not asking for the cat to be brought back for a post-operative check, Mr Bogdanovicz had also abdicated his own professional responsibilities.
Judith Webb, chairing and speaking on behalf of the Committee said: "The Committee considers that it is unlikely that Mr Bogdanowicz will put himself in a similar position again. Having heard his evidence, it has formed the view that he has learnt his lesson from these proceedings.
"The Committee considers that it would perform a disservice to the community at large to direct a lengthy suspension of Mr Bogdanowicz's name from the Register."
The Committee directed that Mr Bogdanowicz's name be suspended from the Register for three months.
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"Obviously in this case there as been misconduct in being dishonest, but I can imagine that the vet may have had conflicting feelings of professionalism when faced with having to put to sleep an otherwise healthy and recovering animal".
This last post seems to sum up the sitution very well (from the evidence as presented to us). Which of us has not been faced with a difficult and deeply upsetting moral decision of this sort at some time or other - often quite frequently if one has been in practice for any length of time.
However, I do have trouble with the comment in the third post
"because his understanding of right and wrong was not set to UK standards?" - this professional person has chosen to work in the UK and is a member of the RCVS - if he can't set his understanding of fundamental UK veterinary standards accordingly it seems questionable that he is working here at all. The RCVS guide to professional conduct is quite straightforward and if a veterinarian cannot accept what is required of him he has the choice of whether to join the RCVS or not - having done so his professional path is quite clear - uncomfortable perhaps but not open to negotiation.
Also in the third post is the comment "Did the vet act out of dishonesty" - not in the first instance perhaps but for sure he was (apparently)dishonest after the event - an understandably human response to being "found out" but not a very admirable one and surely unacceptable in a professional person.
I can imagine that there may have been a cultural conflict here. In the UK it is the owner who decide on euthanasia, the vet has to do it. In Holland and Germany it is considered unethical to euthanise an animal without a veterinary indication for euthanasia. In other words, you are not allowed to euthanise a healthy animal or a recovering patient for which the owner has no more money top pay for treatment. Obviously in this case there as been misconduct in being dishonest, but I can imagine that the vet may have had conflicting feelings of professionalism when faced with having to put to sleep an otherwise healthy and recovering animal.
This is such a blatant breach of a client's trust in all veterinary staff to carry out their explicit instructions and wishes that the disciplinary action seems to be quite inadequate. Veterinary ethics should be so ingrained as a standard of behaviour and practice that any breach should be dealt with far more severely in order to maintain public confidence in the profession.
'Albeit that the registered veterinary nurse was sacked, she appears to retain an unblemished disciplinary record with the RCVS, and her identity has been protected...........'
And you definitely know that to be the case?
If you look on the RCVS website you will see that there is an RVN Disciplinary Committee meeting starting this coming Monday. I wouldnt know if this is the same nurse or not but would be interested in the outcome non the less
Yes target, I agree with both your comments. I'd be interested to know who the nurse was - I feel in some ways she was potentially more to blame and "dragged" the poor vet into it.
...... and regarding the cat, we are told "The Committee is satisfied that there is no evidence of actual injury to the animal and, to the extent that there was any potential risk, the situation is unknown". So they have no idea what happened to the poor animal, it would appear. The fact that there was no evidence of actual injury would appear to be because of lack of evidence rather than necessarily lack of injury.
Albeit that the registered veterinary nurse was sacked, she appears to retain an unblemished disciplinary record with the RCVS, and her identity has been protected...........
The nurse was sacked - see here:www.rcvs.org.uk/.../bogdanowicz-przemyslaw-pawel-december-2012-decision
Could it have been avoided? Did the vet act out of dishonesty or because his understanding of right and wrong was not set to UK standards?
the report mentions that she was registered, so I would be interested in the outcome of this one too - What has happened to the cat as there seems to be no further mention of it?
Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
Clinical Editor: Alasdair Hotston Moore MA VetMB CertSAC CertVR CertSAS FRCVS
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