Delco, Chesco veterinarians sanctioned by state board

Two southeastern Pennsylvania veterinarians were sanctioned by the state Veterinary Medical Board last month for failing to provide proper care to animals who died following surgery in their clinics.

The board suspended the license of Lorie Davida Portugal, who practiced at Critter Care Veterinary Hospital in Thorndale, but stayed the suspension in favor of a one-year probation under certain terms and conditions. 

She also was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $2,000 and must complete 12 hours of continuing professional education credits because she "failed to conform to the standard of acceptable and prevailing veterinary medical practice."

The order stems from a 2008 case involving a five-year-old Staffordshire Terrier named Petie, who was admitted to the clinic with abdominal pain and died shortly after exploratory surgery. The board found Portugal failed to provide proper post-surgical care, nor did she provide adequate fluids.

In 2003 Portugal was cited for practicing on an expired medical license. In 2007 she was fined and reprimanded for failing to return a cat to its owner when the owner could not pay the bill in full.

The board also suspended the license of Leonard N. Donato, owner of Radnor Veteriarnry Hospital in Wayne, for at least one month for failing to conform to the standard of acceptable and prevailing medical practice and for failing to document the care of a patient.

The order resulted from a 2008 case involving a seven-year-old Lab-mix named Brandi who was diagnosed with kidney stones. Donato told the owners that what was a "highly complex and very serious" surgery was routine. In addition Brandi's condition was compromised by Addison's disease. After failing to recover she was euthanized five days after surgery. During that time, the report found, Donato failed to provide adequate post-surgical care (care was only provided during business hours for instance), nor were proper records kept on the patient.

Donato, a specialist in exotic pets who is a member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Avian Practice, also was ordered to pay a civil penalty and costs totaling $2,400.

He also must complete 12 hours of continuing education in critical care, pain management following surgery and record keeping.