Lesley King, Penn Vet Medicine

Lesley Geraldine King, a professor of critical care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, died on May 14 after a long illness. She was 51 years old.

Dr. King 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.

Dr. King was originally from Dublin, Ireland. A 1986 graduate of the University College Dublin School of Veterinary Medicine, she spent her entire career at Penn Vet, where she trained 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 & 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 of the American College of Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care.

Dr. King’s contributions were recognized with the 2012 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from Penn (Almanac April 10, 2012), 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 & Critical Care Society.

Dr. King made lasting contributions about the treatment and diagnosis of challenging and life-threatening conditions of 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 Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “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 is survived by her mother, Violet, and three siblings, Caroline, Suzanne and Richard. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her memory for student scholarship at Penn Vet. Please mail checks made payable to the “Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania” to the Penn Vet Development Office,  3800 Spruce Street, Suite 172E, Philadelphia, PA 19104.