Mourning a loss together

August 12, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

Dear Members:

It has been a dark week since the incomprehensible news of the fatal attack on our colleague, Dr. Walter Reynolds in Red Deer on Monday. The Alberta Medical Association has been in contact with local physician leaders to ensure that all members of our physician community can access assistance through the Physician and Family Support Program as we try to come to terms with such a horrific event. Let me begin with this message to every member: If you need support, asking for help is a sign of strength.

Extra resources have been assembled. As always, individual physicians can call the PFSP support line to talk with one of our physicians for peer support and to access individual therapy sessions with a qualified and experienced therapist. Eligible family members (spouses and dependent children) can also access support and individual therapy sessions. PFSP can arrange a session for groups of approximately 8-12 physicians to assist them with processing their trauma and grief. These sessions are led by a qualified therapist with expertise in trauma, and can include a PFSP physician peer if the group wishes. Access to all services is through our 24-hour support line, 1.877.767.4637.

A couple of days has not been enough time to feel that I can properly express my sorrow. When a few media outlets came to make respectful and sympathetic requests for more reaction, I said that while there are many questions for the days ahead, right now our hearts go out to the family, friends and colleagues for the loss of their loved one. We are mindful that this is a time of shock and deep grief. A time for sorrow. A time to reflect. Our colleague, Dr. Walter Reynolds, was a family physician devoted to his family, his patients and his calling. He will be sorely missed.

The outpouring of emotion from his patients, community, Albertans and Canadians has been heartwarming. If you are on Twitter you may have seen the hashtag that sprang up: #AlbertaLovesDoctors, under which hundreds have posted notes of love and support and stories about how doctors have helped them when they most needed it.

A candlelit vigil is scheduled for Dr. Reynolds, Friday at Red Deer City Hall at 7 p.m. (Please observe distancing and precautions if you attend.)

The AMA will be making a donation to a fund being raised for Dr. Reynolds’ wife and two daughters. I understand that the Alberta College of Family Physicians will also be contributing and no doubt other organizations in our community will do so as well. If you wish to contribute, please visit the Walter Reynolds Memorial Fund. I’m sorry to say that the RCMP are monitoring a fraudulent account that has appeared, so be careful, as always, online. According to the Mayor’s Office with the City of Red Deer, the link provided above is the correct one.

Let us be kind to each other. Please take care of yourselves.

In your service,

Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

1 comment

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  • #1

    Judith Brooke

    Member of the public

    5:42 PM on August 12, 2020

    I can only imaging the terror that filled that clinic and the victim. Witnesses, especially children if there were any, will hold that image in their minds forever. I extend my hand to the family who no doubt are in shock trying to come to grips with what has happened. My heart felt condolences.

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