Alberta doctor’s sick note goes viral

CALGARY — Getting a doctor’s note is something many Canadians are asked to do by their employers when calling in sick. Some complain that leaving their bed to see the doctor defeats the whole purpose. Now, an unverified doctor’s note is making waves on the Internet.

READ MORE: Are doctors notes taking a toll on the health care system?

The letter, which was written for Lethbridge teen Kirby Reding, was posted to the website Reddit by his friend, under the username eaglel66. While the note explains Reding’s absence, the doctor goes one step further, suggesting the documentation is a waste of time.

It says the worker had a cold and sensibly stayed home rather than spreading the illness to co-workers.

READ MORE: Should your boss have to pay for your sick note?

It goes on to say:

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“I have no test for the common cold and therefore believe him/her, however you feel his time and mine should be wasted by making him sit in the walk in clinic for hours and me spending time writing a sick note that I could be spending on people who genuinely need my attention.”

The post has since gone viral and has been viewed more than 3.7 million times online as of this writing.

“I thought it was very funny… I could also identify with it quite strongly and I share the sentiment,” said Calgary primary care physician Dr. Phillip van der Merwe. “We’re here to be our patient’s advocate and help them and facilitate their health journey, so we’re happy to provide those notes for them, but really we wonder why?”

“It’s probably a waste of my time and a waste of health care dollars waste of the patient’s time.”

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Doctors in both Ontario and Nova Scotia have urged employers to avoid strict sick-note policies, calling them a strain on resources.

“Employers should encourage workers to stay home when sick – not require sick notes which has a discouraging effect and forces patients into the doctor’s office when they are sick, which only encourages the spread of germs to those in the waiting room, who in some cases are more vulnerable,” writes the Ontario Medical Association on its website.

WATCH BELOW: A new poll points out unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office are taking a toll on the health care system. Teri Fikowski reports.

With files from Heather Yourex

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