Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MD rapped for delay in seeing patient

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AN Ashern doctor has been disciplined for failing to attend promptly to a patient with a life-threatening condition while on call at the community's hospital.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba censured Dr. Willem George Roets last month and ordered him to pay the $3,284 cost of its probe.

"This will be forever on his record," the college's registrar, Dr. Bill Pope, said in an interview Monday.

Roets, a family physician, was on call -- and less than 100 metres away from Ashern's hospital -- on Sept. 24, 2010 when a man arrived at the emergency room suffering seizures and an irregular pulse.

Nurses said they phoned Roets at 7:35 a.m., asking him to come to the hospital immediately to attend an unstable patient. According to an incident report by the nurse manager, worried nurses called Roets seven times from the hospital, pleading with him to come, before he finally arrived an hour later, at 8:35.

The patient is unnamed in the discipline report posted on the college's website. The report notes the man recovered and returned to the community after treatment in Winnipeg.

But before that happened, there was plenty of drama in Ashern.

By telephone, Roets initially instructed the nurses to do lab tests and give the patient a dose of diazepam for his seizures. After a second worried call, he prescribed a second dose of the drug over the phone.

At 8 a.m., in a fourth call to the doctor -- during which he was given the lab results and again was begged to come in -- the ER nurse said the patient was in "critical condition."

Seventeen minutes later, the nurses decided to "pace the patient," giving him ongoing electric shocks, even thought they had no orders to do so. Eight minutes later, the nurse manager again phoned Roets -- the seventh time he was called to come in -- informing the doctor the patient could go into cardiac arrest at any time. The MD arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 8, 2013 B2

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