Disciplinary Case Dismissed Against Kent Vet

By Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons, PRNE
Thursday, April 29, 2010

LONDON, April 30, 2010 - The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
on Wednesday [28 April 2010] dismissed a case against a veterinary
surgeon from Kent having found him not guilty of serious professional

Mr Francois-Guillame Saulnier-Troff - formerly an employee of North Kent
Referrals in Blue Bell Hill near Aylesford - was charged with concealing
from his clients that a fragment of metal had been left in their dog's
body following surgery, and omitting any reference to that in the
clinical records or notes.

At the hearing, the Committee heard that, during spinal surgery on
Pippin, a Jack Russell terrier belonging to Mr and Mrs Bowers, a small
metal fragment broke off a palpator and became lodged in the bony
material. Mr Saulnier-Troff was unable to retrieve it.

However, Mr Saulnier-Troff did not inform Pippin's owners of this
occurrence, either during the telephone conversation on the 15th of
January immediately following the operation, or when he met with them
for Pippin's post-operative check on the 2nd of February. He said that
he had intended to discuss the fact with the owners when the dog was
discharged and had requested that he be contacted when the owners came
into the surgery. He had not been contacted, though, and on attending
the practice two days later, found that Pippin had already been returned
to his owners.

It was accepted by the Committee that Mr Saulnier-Troff had not
considered the fragment of clinical significance, and that telling Mr
and Mrs Bowers about it was not at the front of his mind at their
subsequent meeting.

The Committee heard there was no reference to the fragment included in
the clinical notes, discharge summary or referral report, but accepted
that the discharge summary had not been prepared by Mr Saulnier-Troff
and that the referral report had been drawn up and sent out without Mr
Saulnier-Troff's approval or personal signature.

In their findings, the Committee made no criticism of Mr Saulnier-Troff
for the breakage or non-retrieval of the fragment, concluding that he
came across as a skilled and conscientious veterinary surgeon and that
he was fundamentally honest. The Committee also described as "honest
and straightforward throughout," the accounts given by Mr and Mrs
Bowers of their recollection of events. The Committee noted that Mr
Saulnier-Troff had admitted that he ought to have told Mr and Mrs Bowers
about the fragment and that he ought to have included details in the
clinical notes.

Disciplinary Committee Chairman Mrs Alison Bruce said that they were
"highly critical of the fact that Mr Saulner-Troff did not inform Mr and
Mrs Bowers at any time of what had occurred or check that the clinical
records had been completed either post-operatively or at the follow-up

"The matters, which Mr Saulnier-Troff has admitted, flow from a failure
on his part to speak to Mr and Mrs Bowers after the discharge had taken
place and to check that he had completed a full clinical record which
included reference to part of the palpator being left in Pippin's body,"
Mrs Bruce continued, adding that this was "indeed conduct which falls
short of the standard to be expected. However, in the opinion of this
Committee his conduct does not fall so far short that it amounts to
disgraceful conduct in a professional respect."

Mrs Bruce concluded: "In these circumstances, the charge is dismissed."


    1.The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the
      UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the
      register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and
      assuring standards of veterinary education.

    2.RCVS disciplinary powers are exercised through the Preliminary
      Investigation and Disciplinary Committees, established in accordance
      with Schedule 2 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (the 1966 Act). The
      RCVS has authority to deal with three types of case:

    a) Fraudulent registration
    b) Criminal convictions
    c) Allegations of disgraceful professional conduct

    3.The Disciplinary Committee is a constituted judicial tribunal
      under the 1966 Act and follows rules of evidence similar to those used
      in a court of law.

    4.The burden of proving an allegation falls upon the RCVS, and the
      RCVS must prove to the standard that the Committee is sure.

    5.A respondent veterinary surgeon may appeal a Disciplinary
      Committee decision to the Privy Council within 28 days of the date of
      the decision. If no appeal is received, the Committee's judgment takes
      effect after this period.

    6.It is a criminal offence contrary to section 19 of the
      Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 to practise as a veterinary surgeon unless
      registered in the RCVS Register of Members. Further information,
      including the original charges against Mrs Lindridge, and the
      Committee's findings and decision on sanction, can be found at

For more information please contact:

Claire Millington, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
+44(0)20-7202-0783, c.millington@rcvs.org.uk

Claire Millington, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, +44(0)20-7202-0783, c.millington at rcvs.org.uk

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