The Red Deer medical community is banding together in a show of support for Dr. Walter Reynolds, the family doctor who was attacked and killed at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic on Monday.
“We want to remember him as a great family man and great physician,” said Dr. Peter Bouch, a general practitioner in Red Deer.
Blue and green ribbons are being worn by staff and doctors across the city.
“It’s important not only for his family, but to show him respect,” Bouch said. Reynolds, 45, was a father of two.
“Also, for the other physicians — to show them the rest of us are thinking of them and thinking of his family, that we care.”
He said staff at the walk-in clinic are understandably in shock.
“That something like this could happen in a physicians’ office, where a patient is coming in, you’re coming in with a feeling of trust and a feeling of vulnerability, and that it could happen in such a setting…
“I think everybody is still reeling in shock and horror that it could really happen.”
“I also ask that everybody please respect the wishes of the staff and their physicians in the moment of grief… They need a bit of privacy.”
Read more: RCMP offers support to Alberta doctors, clinics concerned for safety in light of fatal attack
Doctors in that clinic are supporting each other, Bouch said, while he and others have offered to help see Village Mall Walk-In Clinic patients as that office is closed right now.
“Family physicians and also the specialists are fairly close-knit… We regularly get together and have meetings or social functions,” Bouch said. Both he and Reynolds were originally from South Africa.
“Everybody knows each other… and that personal connection makes it all the more shocking and heartbreaking, especially knowing that he has a young family and that the rest of his family are away in South Africa and are coming to see his family. But it’s always a shock when you’ve got family far away.”
Bouch was given his ribbon on Tuesday. They are blue and green — the colours of the Red Deer Primary Care Network.
“All the physicians, all the Primary Care physicians in town, belong to the Primary Care Network. This is once again just showing our support and… a unified body… supporting our colleague and his family.
“We are a solid, united group.”
“We’ve had many pressures applied to us from the government, the pandemic, and we’ve all gone through a lot in the last few months and this has just been a horrific thing to go through after having gone through all the rest as well.”
“My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife and two daughters and to the family that’s coming from South Africa and to all his colleagues and staff who work there.”
Red Deer physicians plan to wear the ribbons during a candlelight vigil for Reynolds on Friday.
“Most of us physicians in town are wearing them on the white coats,” Bouch said. “Friday night there’s going to be a vigil at city hall and physicians are going to be in white coats.”
Medical staff and doctors will be handing out ribbons to anyone at the vigil who would like one.
Deng Mabiour of Red Deer, Alta., is charged with the first-degree murder of Reynolds, as well as other offences.
RCMP have said the attack was not random and the two men knew each other through the clinic. They have not said if Mabiour was a patient, citing confidentiality.