This past month, veterinary medicine lost a pioneer in the field of Emergency and Critical Care: Dr. Gary Stamp. Born in White Heath, Illinois, Dr. Stamp received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Shortly after graduating, Dr. Stamp joined the Air Force where he was stationed in Fort Collins, Colorado, which granted him the opportunity to complete his MS and a Residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine. He later transferred to the Army Veterinary Corps where he served as the clinical specialist veterinarian, overseeing the care of all military dogs. Dr. Stamp was an outstanding clinical veterinarian for the army and eventually served as the US Army Veterinary Command. He also received recognition for being an outstanding clinicalist for the army by the General Surgeon. During his military career, Dr. Stamp became Board Certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and became the founding member of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (VECC).
Dr. Stamp saw a gap in the veterinary medical field and filled it, creating a new field in veterinary medicine that has gone on to save the lives of countless animals by providing 24-hour care and supervision in the form of emergency care clinics. When he began, there were no more than 4 or 5 in the country, and now it is estimated that as many as 500 exist in the United States, and currently, there are 4,000 members of VECC. While Stamp recognized that smaller and more urban communities might not have the means or personnel for a 24-hour emergency care center, he advocated that veterinarians should all strive to be able to provide the best emergency care possible, regardless of specialty, and he encouraged that veterinary colleges include basic emergency care in their curriculum. Dr. Stamp was not looking to pull clients from day practices, moreover, his vision for the emergency and critical care specialty was to expand the breadth and depth of care offered to pets by working together with referring veterinarians to the emergency clinics to create a plan of care for the animal. The official values of the VECCS are integrity, service, collaboration, and inclusiveness (among others), which illustrate the veterinarian and man Dr. Stamp was.
Colleagues describe Dr. Stamp as warm, kind, and a role model for others in the field. He had the ability to inspire and was always willing to help the next generation of veterinarians find their niche in the field. He has impacted veterinarians around the world, and his presence in the field will forever be felt and deeply missed.