Kirkland veterinarian accused of abusing drugs during animal surgeries; license suspended again

Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney - Contributed
Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney
— image credit: Contributed

A Kirkland veterinarian’s license was suspended on Monday for the second time in two years due to allegedly abusing drugs while performing surgeries on animals.

Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney’s Kirkland clinic, the Avian and Exotic Animal Medical Center, is now permanently closed due to “unforeseen circumstances,” according to her company’s website.

An employee witnessed Johnson-Delaney in the clinic’s operating room in June wearing a mask used to administer an inhaled anesthetic called sevoflurane, according to the Washington State Department of Health Veterinary Board of Governors statement of charges. The employee said Johnson-Delaney admitted that she inhaled the drug and promised not to do it again, the documents continue.

Another employee heard the machine that administers an anesthetic being used during the early morning hours on at least a dozen occasions, between April and June.

Surgical staff also witnessed Johnson-Delaney inhaling and abusing an anesthetic while performing surgical procedures on animals, according to the charges.

The Veterinary Board of Governors on Oct. 11 found that Johnson-Delaney violated state law by committing unprofessional conduct. In response, a Veterinary Board of Governors judge suspended Johnson-Delaney’s veterinary license on Monday. Her license will remain suspended, pending a disciplinary hearing.

Johnson-Delaney’s license was also suspended in August 2011 for similar conduct.

She allegedly took isoflurane, an inhaled anesthetic, on five occasions in March and April of 2011, according to charging documents. It allegedly made her intoxicated, agitated and unconscious while she was at her veterinary clinic.

The Veterinary Board agreed to allow her to practice again, pending a two-year probation with conditions. She was ordered to undergo an evaluation for substance abuse, dependence and mental health issues at the Talbot Clinic in Atlanta, Ga., according to Department of Health documents.

Also, between May and June of 2012, Johnson-Delaney was accused of professional misconduct after she boarded a pet turtle named Rocky, according to Department of Health documents.

The turtle’s owner expressed health concerns with the turtle and after two weeks under Johnson-Delaney’s care, Rocky’s condition deteriorated significantly, the documents continue.

The turtle’s owner took Rocky to another veterinarian, who was unable to assess the pet’s care at the Avian and Exotic Animal Medical Center because of a lack of records. The veterinarian diagnosed Rocky with a life-threatening infection and the turtle died shortly after.

Johnson-Delaney admitted that she only completed boarding logs for one day during the two-week period that Rocky was in her care, according to the documents.

The Veterinary Board on Aug. 1, 2013 agreed to forego further disciplinary proceedings concerning the allegations; however, the board required Johnson-Delaney to complete six hours of continuing education and reimburse $1,000 in board costs.

Johnson-Delaney has practiced avian and exotic companion animal medicine in the greater Puget Sound area for more than 25 years, according to the clinic’s website.


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