Vet in court after allowing employee to x-ray her own foot

The director of a veterinary practice admitted breaching health and safety laws after allowing an intern to x-ray her own foot.

Maidstone Magistrates heard how a horse had stamped on Gemma Blackmur’s foot, while she was working for Kent-based Pet Emergency Treatment Services Ltd.

Fearing that her bones had been broken and she would be unable to complete her on-call duties, the 25-year-old called the practice director, John Kenward.

They were both concerned that she could be held up if she had to visit an A&E department and the director suggested that Ms Blackmur use the in-house x-ray kit.

He gave her the settings to use and she carried out a test, which confirmed there wasn’t a breakage.

However, another director later noticed a human image on the x-ray’s digital processor.

This led him to notify other board members of his intention to interview staff about the suspected breach of the radiation safety policy. He was immediately told by Mr Kenward not to discipline M Blackmur as he had suggested that she use the x-ray.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted and launched an investigation.

Mr Kenward, 55, was ordered to pay over £1200 after pleading guilty to breaching radiation regulations and the practice’s own policy. His defence said it had been an isolated incident and the vet had previously had an exemplary career.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Rob Hassell said: “X-rays must not be taken of human beings at practices. We are aware that the x-raying of people may not be unique to this particular practice so I hope others will take note that HSE is prepared to prosecute if such breaches come to light.”

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