Western Health scrambling after region's only cardiologist quits

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Western Health scrambling after region's only cardiologist quits

Western Health scrambling after region's only cardiologist quits

The only cardiologist in western Newfoundland has quit, leaving Western Health scrambling to help patients in need.

Dr. Yahya Ishmail sent in his resignation to the health board while on vacation in February, telling Western Health he wouldn't be back following six weeks of leave.

Western Health said Tuesday it didn't expect the resignation and can't say why he quit, but that he was known to work heavy hours and had patients all over the region.

Dr. Dennis Rashleigh, Western Health's vice-president of medical services, said there's a plan in place to address Ishmail's resignation and its effect on his patients.

"I am confident that we can provide the care that is required to the patients that were seen by Dr. Ishmail and that the vast majority of this care will continue to be provided based out of Corner Brook and Western Memorial," he said.

Contingency plan in place

Rashleigh said a contingency plan has already been made to address Ishmail's absence, and he expects most people who had appointments to be able to fulfil them in Corner Brook.

"We have recruited a [new internal medicine grad from Memorial] who has done extra training in general internal medicine," he said. "He'll be able to do some of what Dr. Ishmail has done."

"We [also] have two physicians in the community that have slowed their practice down ... and will help out, and we will also have locum coverage coming in between now and at least the summer." 

Western Health's goal now is to have Dr. Ismail return briefly to go through his long list of patients and determine follow up appointments and treatments.

Many of them will be able to be seen by a family doctor, but some may require treatment in St. John's, said Rashleigh.