As the roster of doctors has been slowly rebuilt in Estevan, so too has the restoration of services at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
For a period the hospital was unable to deliver babies as it was without an obstetrician and an anesthetist following the departure of Dr. Di Naidu to Saskatoon.
However, the South East Community Health Committee was able to recruit Dr. Yusuf Kasim, who is an obstetrician and gynecologist, to fill part of the void. To help cover the anesthetist gap, the committee brought in Dr. Medhi Horri from Ontario.
Kasim said he and his family, which includes his wife and three daughters, are enjoying Estevan and all the community has to offer.
“They have been going for skating classes, dancing, music, swimming. They are enjoying it.”
On a professional level, Kasim said after a slow start to his tenure in Estevan — he was initially seeing five to six patients a day — he is now up to an average of 15 per day.
“One of the initial problems was because we didn’t have an anesthetist,” said Kasim, whose clinic is located in the St. Joseph’s Foundation Clinic. “People felt there is no need to come and see me. Seventy-five per cent of the bulk of our work has to do with pregnant ladies and deliveries. (During a delivery) the best form of pain relief is an epidural. (Without an anesthetist in Estevan) they preferred to go to Regina. Now that we’ve had one the last one month … people are coming to see us now. They are quite happy that we have something locally.”
Asked if he was happy to see the addition of an anesthetist to the local physician roster, Kasim smiled and let out a sigh of relief that spoke volumes.
“It is painful to tell a lady ‘sorry I cannot (handle) your delivery, you have to go to Regina,’” he said. “It breaks the doctor–patient relationship. It’s somebody you have been looking after and have established a kind of relationship with.
“With an anesthetist on the ground now, it cements the relationship between the doctor and patient in terms of looking after them through pregnancy and delivery.”
Since his arrival, Kasim estimates that he has completed roughly 20 regular and 20 C-section deliveries.
“The staff here is fantastic and I have enjoyed working here. It’s just you want to do more and we are getting more equipment that will (add) some services here in Estevan and they won’t have to go to Regina.”
In Estevan for roughly one month, Horri, who is both a general practitioner and anesthetist, said he is also enjoying his new surroundings at the hospital and Estevan Medical Group clinic.
“It’s busy, quite busy. But the community has been deprived of doctors for years and they have been coming and going. They need follow-up, they need a family physician and that is what we are doing, providing services that are way overdue,” said Horri.
“It’s such a headache to go find a doctor. To sit there for hours for a refill of medication, they just give up. I am hoping with this new situation we are carrying part of the weight and helping them in that aspect.”
Both men credited the work of the local committee with helping them get settled in Estevan and making the transition to the community a smooth one.
Along with Horri and Dr. Andre Grobler, the Estevan Medical Group clinic also recently added Dr. Jimi Akinset, a general practitioner who is ready to accept patients.