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

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Advance voting has now started in polling places throughout the Fraser-Nicola riding. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Advance voting now open in Fraser-Nicola

Advance voting runs from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21 in B.C.’s election

Honour House Society founder and President Allan De Genova (l) and Robert Parkinson, Health and Wellness Director, Ambulance Paramedics of BC and Director, Honour House Society, at the opening of Honour Ranch near Ashcroft, Oct. 5, 2019. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Honour Ranch makes use of ‘down time’ to complete essential work

Unable to run programs because of COVID-19, volunteers made the site ready for year-round use

Historic Ashcroft sign, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)
Restaurant patio licences extended in Ashcroft for another year

Council decision enables establishments to keep outdoor patios through October 2021

Seventh-Day Adventist Church Pastor Charles Lomudak (l) with Daniel Collett and Marina Papais (r of sign), Gary Dost (third from r), Gwen and Katie Henderson (4th and 5th from r), and congregants with the church’s new sign. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
New mosaic at Ashcroft church labour of love for congregants

Seventh-Day Adventist Church worked with local artists to design, create new sign

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read