Innisfail loses obstetrics service

Delivering babies is no longer a service Innisfail doctors will provide, except for emergency deliveries.

Delivering babies is no longer a service Innisfail doctors will provide, except for emergency deliveries.

Out of the 10 doctors in town, only three doctors did deliveries and shared on-call duty.

Innisfail physician Dr. Greg Van Wyk said without more doctors delivering, it was too difficult to continue providing the service.

“Your lifestyle is severely impaired because you have to be available 24/7 when you’re on duty,” Van Wyk said on Friday.

“(Doctors) are unable, unwilling, or both, to give that amount of time and sacrifice for the services that are expected.”

Deliveries officially ended on Thursday and Van Wyk delivered the last baby that day.

“This lady, was perfect timing,” said the doctor who has been delivering babies for 20 years.

And he’s going to miss it.

“There is some sadness for me, and I think for everyone that’s done obstetrics. It’s just such a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Twenty babies were delivered in Innisfail in 2008-09, down from 28 the year before.

Van Wyk said births have dropped over the years, with fewer doctors delivering, so cutting the service won’t make a huge impact.

And the support coming from doctors in other communities has been enormous, he said.

“We’ve spoken to three other communities — Olds, Sundre and Red Deer — and they’ve all said ‘no problem, we’ll pick up the slack,’” Van Wyk said.

Debbie Leitch, program director for maternal child services at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, said another 20 babies won’t have a significant impact on Red Deer, where there are over 50 doctors who deliver and six obstetricians.

Doctors in 13 communities in former David Thompson Health Region still deliver babies.

A total of 4,111 babies were delivered in 2007-08 and about the same is expected for 2008-09.

“We have an awesome region. Obstetrics has been a cornerstone of a lot of communities,” Leitch said.

Innisfail is close enough that hopefully people will feel they are getting the access they need, she said.

Prenatal and post-natal care will still be available in Innisfail.

Van Wyk said the patient’s safety will always come first and doctors on call at Innisfail Health Centre will do emergency deliveries, for example when the weather prevents travel.

“It’s not as if we’re going to turn them around at the door when the baby’s head is about to pop out. You’ve got to do it.”

Rob Stevenson, spokesperson with Alberta Health Services, said worldwide more doctors are choosing not to deliver babies and refer to specialists.

The province is looking for physicians who practice obstetrics as part of its recruitment efforts and if some move to the Innisfail area, deliveries will begin again, he said.

“The program is not being mothballed. We’re not tearing down the nursery.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

VIDEO: Central Albertans learn about Icelandic poet at Stephansson House

Harvest Fair and Quilt Show hosted at Stephansson House in Spruce View Sunday

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month