Local News Spotlight

KU Med cited in another animal death

KU Medical Center again is scrutinized for how it handles animal experimentation. The goat died of respiratory failure.

Updated: 2012-12-14T05:37:15Z

By MARÁ ROSE WILLIAMS

The Kansas City Star

Two years after paying a hefty fine for Animal Welfare Act violations, the University of Kansas Medical Center has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the death of a goat in a lab.

A routine USDA animal and plant health inspection at KU in January also cited the medical center for inadequate veterinary care, improper reporting and improper supervision of experimentation.

The report from the USDA, which regulates animal research facilities, said the goat died of respiratory failure after a procedure involving anesthesia and the use of a paralytic drug.

That paralyzing drug may not have been sufficiently reversed before the goat recovered from the anesthesia, the report said, noting that use of the of drug “must be appropriately monitored to ensure that adequate anesthesia is maintained when the drug is active and to ensure the drug is reversed prior to anesthetic recovery.”

C.J. Janovy, director of communications for KU Med, said the center’s attending veterinarian thought that the drugs had been administered according to standard veterinary practice and had appealed the citation.

“To date,” Janovy said, “the USDA has not contacted KUMC regarding further investigation.”

USDA officials said that not all citations in routine monthly inspections end up as full-blown investigations.

“Some are immediately corrected by the institution and that’s the end of it,” said David Sacks, a USDA spokesman.

An Ohio-based animal rights group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, has asked the USDA to investigate what it called “the negligent death” of the goat at the KU lab. Michael A. Budkie, the group’s executive director, accused KU staff of ignoring previous USDA enforcement actions.

KU is in the midst of another USDA investigation not connected to the January 2012 inspection.

Federal officials declined to release details of that investigation except to say that it involves a failure to provide adequate veterinary care and adequate oversight of the lab.

Janovy said that probe “involves four relatively minor issues found during the May and August 2010 routine inspections of our facility. The USDA has told us that the issue is still considered open solely due to a backlog at the USDA’s Investigative and Enforcement Services.”

That ongoing case came a few months after KU had been cited in January 2010 for negligence at the medical center that caused lab monkeys to die of dehydration.

In that case, the USDA cited the medical center for 160 violations. At the time, a KU spokesman called the USDA report old news and said the medical center was working with the federal agency to correct the problems.

In May 2010, KU paid $62,000 for 63 of the violations and said it had spent $700,000 to renovate its facility, hired more staff and brought in experienced veterinarians to supervise.

The maximum fine is $10,000 per violation, the USDA said.

To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to mdwilliams@kcstar.com.

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