Monday, May 19, 2008

Death of a Donor Cat in Hands of Colorado Vet Heather Steyn

On April 16, 2007, the Colorado Board of Veterinary Medicine issued a "Stipulated Letter of Admonition" to veterinarian Heather Steyn, DVM, of VCA Ft. Collins Animal Hospital. This letter says (emphasis mine):

" . . .the Board determined that the blood collection practice in this case, which resulted in the death of the donor feline, was substandard. The Board found that your substandard treatment constituted a violation of the practice act. Specifically, the Board hereby admonishes you for a violation of C.R.S. section 12-64-111(1)(l)."

So, the substandard method of blood collection from this case RESULTED IN it's death -- that is clearly stated by the Board. (Boards so rarely establish causation, that I feel that is important to point out.)

C.R.S. section 12-64-111(1) is:

"l) Unprofessional or unethical conduct or engaging in practices in
connection with the practice of veterinary medicine which that are in
violation of the standards of professional conduct generally accepted
standards of veterinary practice as defined in this article or
prescribed by the rules and regulations of the board;"

The Board fined Steyn $500 and ordered her to take 6 hours of education in remedial critical care, but considered the latter requirement satisfied by classes she had already taken. (???) They ordered her to write a three- to five-page paper on blood collection practices.

A web search on Heather Steyn's name indicates that she is actually the MEDICAL DIRECTOR of the VCA Ft. Collins in Fort Collins, Colorado. Just this month she was
offering discounted services on services including semen collection, evaluation and freezing.

So here is my question, if the MEDICAL DIRECTOR is engaging in violations of regulations against "unprofessional" or "unethical" conduct or that which is "a violation of the standards of professional conduct" then . . . what can you expect from the rest of the staff?

Poor, poor donor kitty. R.I.P.


To see the disciplinary document for yourself,

1. Go to the

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
2. Select "Division of Registrations Board/Program Action Documents;
3. Click Logon
4. In the drop-down box on the next page, select: "REG Licensing Board"
5. In the drop-down box on the next page, where is says: "State Board of" - select "Veterinary."
6. Look for unique ID 30146 and click on the hyperlinked text (as of today, this is on the last page of the results, so you will need to click through the documents to go all the way to the end).