Penn Vet’s Dr. Lesley King, Pioneer in Veterinary Critical Care, Dies at Age 51
Lesley Geraldine King, MVB, originally from Dublin, Ireland, and a resident of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, died May 14, 2016, at the age of 51, after a long illness.
Dr. King, Professor of Critical Care, was a founder and pillar of critical care at Penn Vet and beyond. She was instrumental in the development of the veterinary intensive care specialty, particularly in expanding and refining mechanical ventilation.
A 1986 graduate of the University College Dublin School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. King spent her entire career at Penn Vet, where she was responsible for training numerous emergency and critical care residents, interns, and technicians. She held leadership positions as Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital and as President of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. A founding Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine-Companion Animals, she also served as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.
Dr. King’s contributions to the University and to the field were recognized with the 2012 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania; the 2013 Jack Mara Scientific Achievement Award from the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care; and the 2013 Ira M. Zaslow Distinguished Service Award from the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.
A sought-after international speaker, Dr. King left lasting contributions on the treatment and diagnosis of challenging and life-threatening conditions in cats and dogs. Her research focused on respiratory failure, pulmonary medicine, applications of positive pressure ventilation in small animals, and outcome prediction in the critical small animal patient. Along with nearly 50 scientific research publications, she edited the authoritative Textbook of Respiratory Disease in Dogs and Cats, which was translated into Japanese and Spanish, and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Manual of Canine and Feline Emergency and Critical Care, now in its second edition.
“Lesley was distinguished, accomplished, and passionate. She had high standards and clear thinking, and was an unmatched administrator,” said Penn Vet Dean Joan Hendricks. “Penn Vet’s Intensive Care Unit and the critical care specialty are in the hands of her professional children. We all mourn her loss, but are consoled by her lasting accomplishments and contributions.”
Dr. King was in the presence of her closest family and friends during her last days. She was loyal, pure in her focus, and wholly devoted to her friends, patients, students, and ICU. In the management of her illness and the grief of her loved ones, she was brave, gracious, dignified, kind, and open. In full accordance with who she was, she has taken care of those she loved, including her pet chickens, horses, dogs, and cats. She is survived by her mother, Violet, and siblings Caroline, Suzanne, and Richard.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Dr. King’s memory for student scholarship at Penn Vet. Please make checks payable to the “Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania” and mail to the Penn Vet Development Office at 3800 Spruce Street, Suite 172E, Philadelphia, PA 19104.