Vernon mom dropped by family doctor over walk-in clinic visits

A Vernon single mother of four children has been dropped by her family doctor of more than 13 years over visits to a walk-in clinic.

Doctor's letter states single mother-of-four broke conditions he set when accepting her as his patient

Michelle Schroth and her family have been dropped by their family doctor over visits to a walk-in-clinic. (Michelle Schroth)

A single mother of four children in Vernon, B.C. has been dropped by her family doctor of more than 13 years over visits to a walk-in clinic. 

Michelle Schroth, 38, said the news came in the form of a letter dated January 28th and signed by her doctor. 

Schroth took a photo of the letter and uploaded it to social media.

In a letter, the physician wrote he decided to drop Schroth as a patient after his office received copies of walk-in clinic visits.

"One of the conditions of my taking over your care as your family doctor was that you try if at all possible to avoid using other clinics and keep your medical care at our office," the doctor wrote. "I would ask that you have my name removed as your family physician as I will not follow up on any further medical correspondence."

A Vernon B.C. family physician sent this letter stating he is dropping his patient because of walk-in-clinic visits. (Michelle Schroth)

Schroth said the news came a shock, as she didn't remember hearing about the doctor's policy of not visiting other clinics.

She admits she has visited walk-in-clinics over the past 13 years. However only when she couldn't get in to see her regular doctor, she said.

"It's ridiculous," she said. "The reason I went to the walk-in clinic the first time was because I had to get a refill prescription and I couldn't get in to see him. So I went into the drop-in." 

Physician, college decline comment

CBC News repeatedly contacted the physician's office, but was told by staff the doctor would not speak about the letter or his policy.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia refused to comment about the situation.

"The college doesn't respond to allegations without first opening a case file and conducting a thorough investigation, which includes direct contact with the physician(s) involved," said spokeswoman Susan Prins.

Professional guidelines and standards for ending a patient-physician relationship listed on the college's website state, "A physician may ethically and legally decide not to continue seeing a patient, as long as the reasons for that decision are based on the lack of an effective therapeutic relationship and not based on reasons that could be discriminatory."

The college's guidelines state that doctors should try to communicate in person, give the patient a reasonable time to find another doctor and assist in that process where possible.

Schroth says none of this was offered to her when she was let go.

Now she is worried about her prospects of finding another doctor for her family.

"I don't even know where to start," Schroth said. "We have a massive doctor shortage here."

She plans on filing a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. about how she was let go by her physician.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.