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College mourns loss of Past President

21 November 2008

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has been saddened to hear that Emeritus Professor Leslie Vaughan DSc DVR FRCVS, its President in 1987-8, has died.

Qualifying from the Royal Veterinary College in 1949, Professor Vaughan (pictured) held various posts within the RVC, including House Surgeon, Lecturer and Reader. He was awarded a personal chair in 1972 as Professor of Veterinary Orthopaedics, becoming the Professor of Veterinary Surgery and Head of Department two years later. He was Vice-Principal from 1982 to 1991.

Having formally retired in 1991, Professor Vaughan continued to see small animal orthopaedic cases referred to the Queen Mother Hospital (QMH) at the Royal Veterinary College until he finally ‘put down his scalpel’ at the end of 2007.

During these 16 years, not only was he involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on rotations, but claimed no payment personally for his work: he donated any fees to the RVC’s Animal Care Trust to support further development of the QMH.

It is fitting that the third and final phase of the QMH was opened this week by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. This was the culmination of a major project that Professor Vaughan helped initiate in the mid-1980s.

Professor Vaughan, who was 81, became a Fellow of the RCVS in 1957 for a thesis entitled: A study of the clinical and pathological aspects of the intervertebral disc protrusion in the dog.

“Leslie Vaughan had an international reputation in veterinary orthopaedics, both as a clinician and a researcher, that included small animal, equine and even farm animal species,” comments Dr Jerry Davies, RCVS Treasurer and former colleague of Professor Vaughan.

“Those remarkable achievements were equalled by his skills as a teacher. He had an ability to instil in his students the fundamental principles of diagnosis where meticulous clinical observation and examination must precede the careful selection of adjunct investigations such as radiography and laboratory testing.

"The extraordinary number of veterinary surgeons, both past and present, that will have benefited from his teaching over no less than 58 years will never be surpassed,” he said

The funeral will be held at St John’s Church, Harpenden, Herts, at 11.30 am on Monday, 1 December 2008.

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