With household docs in brief provide, Saskatoon sufferers left in limbo

Camille Kropf said she wasn’t notified when her children’s family doctor retired and several months later still hasn’t been able to find someone to replace them.

Her kids, ages two and five, both have asthma, her son also has life threatening allergies.

“Obviously COVID is still a thing and them having asthma and everything is very terrifying and not having a doctor kind of limits the things we can get them,” Krophf said.

The Saskatoon woman said she’s called almost every clinic in the city and is on several wait lists for her kids. The situation is leaving her frustrated. She’s started to look outside of the city to see if she can find a family doctor in Warman or Martensville.

“My kids do have refills on their emergency inhalers but as soon as that runs out, I have no idea what the process is after that,” she said.

Krophf isn’t the only one searching for a family doctor. Crystal Evanisky said she’s “in a panic” trying to find a family physician for her 22-year-old nephew who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

He was given one month of insulin from a hospital but it’s not enough, she said. 

“With this type of diagnosis, you need a doctor who’s going to look at the whole picture because there’s other complications from the disease.” 

Having follow up appointments and someone continuously caring for her nephew is important to her.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) says healthcare is best delivered with a family physician and that walk-in clinics aren’t enough long-term.

“That is not a substitute for having a family doctor who will monitor your health or work with you, you know, explain health issues to you,” said SMA president Dr. John Gjevre.

The Association said family doctors country-wide are retiring with not many people to replace them. Gjevre says medical students no longer find family medicine as “desirable” as it once was.

“There’s a lot of students out there who other careers are more attractive to them, so we have seen a decrease in the interest in medical students in Canada,” said Dr. Kathy Lawrence, provincial head of family medicine.

With the lack of doctors affecting the whole country, the situation leaves people to potentially face long-term consequences for undiagnosed issues.

Lawrence said the issue is complex as doctors can only take on so many patients before they burnout.

“We have to sort of find that balance where people are doing as much as they can without getting to the point where they say ‘I can’t be there at all anymore’.”

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