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Springdale patients stressed over losing doctor

People gathered for the protest in support of Dr. Todd Young.
People gathered for the protest in support of Dr. Todd Young. - Contributed

Dr. Todd Young closing his clinic; patients calling for reinstatement of hospital privileges for family physician

SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Francis Buchanan is “stressed, apprehensive and nervous” about losing her family physician, Dr. Todd Young.

On July 10, Young issued a public statement declaring he would close his practice by Oct. 9, citing the loss of his hospital privileges as the reason.

Young’s notice explained, “I need this level of privilege in order to properly care for my palliative patients, patients with chronic illness who need admission, or other patients requiring admission.” 

Francis Buchanan. - Contributed
Francis Buchanan. - Contributed

Young lost his hospital privileges when he admitted to sexual misconduct with two female patients. His practice was suspended for 18 months, but when he returned, his hospital privileges were not reinstated. He has since fought the issue in Supreme Court, but the judge sided with Central Health’s decision not to reinstate the privileges.

Young’s patients protested the ruling March 23, 2016 and again during a Central Health announcement on July 11.

Buchanan says that with over 3,000 patients, a lot of people from many communities will be affected.

“His patients come from all over, it’s not just Springdale,” Buchanan said. “You’ve got St. Patrick’s, you’ve got Little Bay, you got King’s Point and Rattling Brook and so many different small communicates, you know?”

Buchanan says Young has many years of expertise and insight and was able to diagnose issues that stumped other doctors she saw.

“I had an ulcer on my ankle that didn’t heal, and I was going to the cottage hospital here five days a week for six months and it didn’t heal up or anything,” Buchanan explained.

She was messaging with a friend who turned out to be Young’s mother. Young agreed to see her and quickly discovered she had no pulse in her foot.

“Right away, that night, he was onto a specialist and he had an appointment for me in St. John’s a week later,” Buchanan recalled.

Doctors there put stints in her groin arteries and she’s had no issues since.

Buchanan says Young’s dedication to his patients is unparalleled. Buchanan also suffered from lung cancer and needed some additional instruction to learn how to administer her own medical care at home.

“When I had to have chemo, every 21 days, I had to give myself injections and you know what he did?” Buchanan asked. “He gave up his Saturday and Sunday to come and show me how to give myself an injection and he said to me, ‘I want you to know, don’t feel like you are on your own.’ How wonderful is that? He is so sincere and so serious about everything, so compassionate.”

As for Young’s personal issues, Buchanan doesn’t feel that it impacts his work with patients. 

Jean Bennett. - Contributed
Jean Bennett. - Contributed

“Everybody is human, everyone can make a mistake,” Buchanan commented. “We know what he’s done but we don’t care, that’s got nothing to do with him being a doctor as far as I’m concerned.

“He’s paid for what he’s done. They should give him his privileges. This is crazy, absolutely crazy. I feel broken-hearted about it to tell you the truth. I am overwhelmed with the stress and fear and everything combined together. It’s such a disappointment.”

She worries about finding another family doctor with 3,000 other patients also searching.

“It’s awful really,” Buchanan said. “We don’t know what were going to do. Imagine if something came up now and I have to go see a new doc and go through my whole case history. I might be too sick to even do that.”

Jean Bennett, a patient of Young’s since he first opened his practice, agrees with Buchanan. She concurs that Young is compassionate.

“He is thorough with your issue,” Bennett said. “He gets to the bottom of it. I feel comfortable to sit and talk to him and if need be he will call you at home. He’s one of the best docs that I’ve ever had to go to.”

Bennett, who lives half an hour outside Springdale, said she doesn’t have confidence in other doctors at the Springdale cottage hospital and will likely have to drive to Grand Falls-Windsor or Corner Brook for medical attention if Young closes his practice.

“If I gotta go to Grand Falls for a doctor’s appointment, that’s where I’m going to fill my prescription, that’s where I’m going to pick up my groceries, I’ll gas up my car, and I will eat there — so Springdale is going to lose a lot of business,” she said.

Bennett agrees Young’s transgression has been dealt with and she wants to see Central Health reinstate his full privileges.

“He paid for his mistake,” Bennett said. “He was honest about the mistake, he came forward and admitted it. I would like to see Central Health get to the bottom of this and deal with it in a professional manner. I am very disappointed in Central Health.”

Young’s patients plan to hold another protest. They are considering July 23 as the date.

Central Health was contacted for comment but did not respond as of publication deadline.

The Nor’Wester will provide updates related to this issue as they become available.

martinebluenews@gmail.com

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