Vet dies trying to save dog after hit-and-run accident
KNOXVILLE, TENN. — Clients are filling the practice's small lobby with flowers and well wishes.
The tribute is for Dr. Kathryn Gilpatrick, 37, who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while she was trying to aid two dogs that were struck in an earlier automobile accident.
Just before 9 p.m. on April 15, a police officer had been conducting traffic control in a residential area when he heard a car hit the dogs, according to a police report. Gilpatrick ran from her home to help. One dog was dead at the scene, but Gilpatrick started to help the other, despite the officer's request to wait until he could block traffic. Before the officer could move his cruiser, a car hit Gilpatrick. The automobile's driver fled the scene.Gilpatrick was taken immediately to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, but died the next morning. Roselyn, the 4-month-old black Labrador retriever Gilpatrick aided, was taken to Animal Emergency Critical Care and Referral Center in Knoxville and survived. Roselyn, who suffered two broken legs but no internal injuries, is "doing great," according to Dr. Mitch Rosenvweig, the hospital's owner.
Gilpatrick sometimes made referrals to Rosenvweig's clinic from her own hospital, the Cat Clinic, where she worked for the last eight years.
The driver of the vehicle, Walter Gary Flynn, was detained April 20 and charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death or injury, criminally negligent homicide, driving while license revoked and violation of the financial responsibility law for driving without insurance, according to Knoxville police. As of press time, he was being held in the Knox County Detention Facility on a $13,500 bond.
Since the accident, the Cat Clinic has been flooded with an outpouring of support, says practice owner Dr. Brian Nussbaum. She had a great bedside manner, strong work ethic and endless patience, Nussbaum adds.
The Cat Clinic's small staff is in mourning for the loss of Gilpatrick as a colleague and a member of the family.
"When she started, she made it pretty clear she enjoyed being a relief veterinarian. She had no desire to stay at a clinic on a permanent basis," Nussbaum recalls. "Then, after she was with us for a few months, I asked when she was going to stay with us, and she said 'I thought you'd never ask.'"
Gilpatrick is survived by her husband and 4-year-old son.
Services were held April 19. Donations for Roselyn's care can be made to the Animal Emergency Critical Care Center, care of the "Rosey Fund," at 10213 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922.