High River doctor's departure worries residents

Some people in High River are worried the imminent departure of one of the town’s physicians is going to become a trend.

Many physicians in town south of Calgary were affected by June flood

Some people in High River are worried the imminent departure of one of the town’s physicians is going to become a trend.

Many family doctors in the town lost their homes or their clinics — or both — in the June flood.

Dr. Bonnie Bagdan recently sent a letter to her patients announcing her decision to leave the community.  

One of those patients, Norissa Watkins, said she’s not sure what she and her family are going to do now.

“It’s causing me a lot stress and a lot of anxiety, because I really count on my doctor,” she said.  

“So what do we do? No one is accepting patients. Does that mean that now I have to go sit in a waiting room if I need a refill on my blood pressure meds?”

“I'm scared, I'm really, really scared because I’ve never been without a doctor,” said another patient, 67-year-old Barbara Pickering.

Health Minister Fred Horne said the government is taking steps to keep doctors in High River.

The province is guaranteeing their income for the next year and providing backfill when they need a break, he said.

“In addition to looking after all of us and our health care needs, they also needed to attend to their own issues and families.”

With at least eight of the town’s physicians living in the floodway, it’s feared some of them will be among those taking a government buyout and moving elsewhere before the Nov. 30 deadline.

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