Healthcare workers and family members hold up phones as they attend a vigil for Dr. Walter Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, who was killed at a walk-in clinic earlier this week, in Red Deer, Alta., Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta doctors want safer workplace after killing of physician in Red Deer clinic

Dr. Walter Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked by a patient wielding a weapon

A central Alberta doctor says some clinics have stopped allowing patients to carry bags and backpacks since a family doctor was killed on the job last month.

Dr. Walter Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked by a patient wielding a weapon at a walk-in clinic in Red Deer, Alta., on Aug. 10. Deng Mabiour has been charged with first-degree murder. He is to appear in court this week.

Dr. Peter Bouch, who knew Reynolds, says members of the Red Deer Primary Care Network have set up a committee to work with Alberta Health Services and Occupational Health and Safety in an effort to make clinics safer.

Some clinics, he says, are already asking patients to leave their bags at the front desk and, going forward, there need to be standards for how to manage difficult patients who might be demanding, aggressive or suffering from mental illness.

“There’s no way we can completely stop an event like what happened,” Bouch told The Canadian Press.

“Even though this was a rare thing physicians and their staff are vulnerable every single day.”

Bouch said the committee is to met with professionals that have expertise in workplace safety. He hopes there will be a list of general recommendations within the next six months.

The president of the Alberta Medical Association says Reynolds’s death highlights the need for changes to make the profession safer across Canada.

“The horrific attack on Dr. Reynolds has highlighted the issue of safety in physician offices and other practice settings. It’s essential that physicians, staff and patients are safeguarded. This is a large and complex issue that no single party can address on their own,” said Dr. Christine Molnar, a diagnostic radiologist and nuclear medicine specialist based in Calgary.

Molnar said the medical body’s healthy working environments advisory committee will discuss whether there’s an expanded role for the association in the area of safety and workplace violence.

She said it’s not just a problem in Alberta.

“I have been speaking with the Canadian Medical Association and my counterparts at the provincial and territorial medical associations and there are concerns on a pan-Canadian basis regarding everything from physical security to psycho-social safety.”

READ MORE: Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Alberta’s health minister has called Reynolds’s death a terrible loss. But Tyler Shandro stopped short of saying anything would be done by the government.

“Family physicians are part of the front line of health care. They put themselves at the service of every patient in need, but that should never mean being exposed to violence,” Shandro said in an email.

“The RCMP have confirmed this was an isolated incident and indicates no increased risk to the people of Red Deer.”

Shandro suggests physicians or others with concerns about their security should contact the RCMP’s victim services division.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AlbertaDoctors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

The last forum before the election on Saturday focused on health care.
Boundary-Similkameen candidates talk health care over digital forum

The Support Our Health Care Society hosted the forum

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Central Okanagan school anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

Most Read