People turned away from Enderby walk-in clinic because they were not fully vaccinated

Clinic doctor responds

UPDATE 3:12 p.m.

The doctor in charge of the Enderby Medical Clinic wants to clarify the position of the facility in light of allegations patients have been turned away.

Dr. Jeff Millar says the policy of clinic was recently updated given the “concerning rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, and the highly transmissible delta variant.”

The policy of the clinic is:

  • Those who are fully vaccinated will be seen by the doctor assuming they are symptom free and wearing masks.
  • Those who are not fully vaccinated and have no primary care physician are told to provide their phone number and the doctor will call them to discuss their medical concerns. (Telemedicine)
  • Those who are not fully vaccinated and have a current primary care physician are told to first call their own doctor.
  • Those who are not fully vaccinated and have an urgent medical condition are directed to call 911 or go to a local emergency room as the clinic is not equipped to handle the delta variant, as are emergency departments.

“Unfortunately, the clinic is currently closed due to the termination of the medical office assistant for refusing to follow the provincial health order mandating masks in all indoor public spaces,” Millar told Castanet in an email.

“The clinic will reopen shortly, and the above policies will continue to be enforced during the pandemic.”

UPDATE 3 p.m.

Another mother has come forward after her daughter was denied treatment at a walk-in clinic in Enderby.

Judy, who asked her last name not be used, said she took her four-year-old daughter to the clinic on Friday Aug. 20 because she had an infection.

Judy said she can not be vaccinated for religious reasons and is unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, but she felt her daughter was being punished because of that.

“It was very upsetting,” she told Castanet Tuesday. “It's really sad my child was refused.”

Judy did take her daughter to a doctor in Salmon Arm where she received medical attention.

ORIGINAL 11:53 a.m.

Kate Stein was shocked when her son was refused medical care because he is not fully vaccinated.

And she's not the only one to have been turned away.

Her son, who turned 13 in April, injured his wrist while skateboarding on Monday, and Stein wanted to take him to the walk-in clinic in Enderby.

She was told her son was not allowed to attend the town's only walk-in clinic because of his vaccination status.

Stein said her family is not anti-vaccine, as she and her husband are both double vaccinated. And of course they would be wearing masks to the doctor's appointment, but they were refused entry regardless.

“I was blindsided by that. I feel as a family we have been doing everything to support our health-care system, to protect ourselves, and my kids are being penalized,” she said Tuesday.

“We are being pushed to the side, and that is really disturbing.”

Stein said before going to the walk-in she called to see if there was any space available. She was told there was but the doctor would not see anyone not fully vaccinated.

“That was a little bit shocking,” she said. “I said he is barely over the (12 year old limit), surely you can make an exception and she said he is not seeing anyone who is not vaccinated.”

Stein said they were looking into getting their son vaccinated, but as he just turned 13, they did not think there was a rush.

Pierre, who asked his last name not be used, was also shocked when his 73-year-old mother was refused entry to the clinic because she is not vaccinated.

As his mother's regular doctor was on vacation, she wanted to go to the walk-in because of an “intense sore throat with difficulty swallowing.”

“Worried about COVID, she had a test two days ago, and the test was negative. My mom doesn't speak English very well, and with her sore throat she just can't talk right now. She couldn't get a consultation because she is not vaccinated. She was turned away despite showing her negative COVID test,” said Pierre.

“The people at the clinic told her "If you are not vaccinated, we will not take you, go to the hospital emergency room.”

Pierre said his siblings are now trying to get their mother medical attention at a different facility, delaying her receiving care.

Stein said if this were to happen in a larger centre, there are other walk-in clinics they could go to, but there is only one in Enderby.

So, she was forced to drive to the emergency room in Salmon Arm, where the wait was several hours.

“I did not want to take him to the emergency room for something that is not urgent where my son could be exposed to COVID,” she said. “I was just shocked a doctor could do that.”

On Tuesday morning, a sign was placed on the clinic door, stating it is closed until further notice and people should go to the ER in Salmon Arm.

Castanet has reached out to Interior Health for comment.

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