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

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

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A in Princeton

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

The Urgent and Primary Care Centre on Martin Street has officially opened today, March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - File)
Funding denied for Penticton primary care facility

Urgent and Primary Care Centre designated a hospital, but request for $1M in funding denied

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a truck fire on Dallas Road in Vernon April 15, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
WATCH: Vernon firefighters quick to douse fully involved truck fire

The fire was near multiple structures and spreading along the ground upon crews’ arrival

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Fire crews tend to a collision that is causing severe traffic delays on the William R. Bennett bridge headed east into Kelowna. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
7 vehicle collision on WR Bennett Bridge under investigation

The collision backed up traffic on the William R. Bennett bridge for much of the morning

Kelowna company celebrates milestone of producing 46 million masks in under a year.
46 million masks and counting: Kelowna company reaches 1 year milstone

In under a year, Breathe Manufacturing Ltd. in Kelowna has hit production of 46 million masks for front-line workers

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna RCMP investigating hit and run involving 11-year-old

Police said the boy suffered minor injuries

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Most Read