Cypress Health Region should work to keep extraordinary physician

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Swift Current has been blessed in the last few years with an extraordinary doctor - Dr. Senyo Tagboto. Unfortunately the system seems to be doing its utmost to drive him away.

One of the reasons is the on-call system. For approximately the last year, he has been on-call one in two, sharing the on-call hours with Dr. Serwadda. This means that he can be on call for 24 hours for many days in a row. Anyone can see that is unreasonable and it is amazing he has been able to maintain that hectic schedule for all of this time. If it can be arranged that he is on call one in four, then this would greatly reduce the hours that he is on call. Right now he barely ever gets to see his family.

Another reason is his frustration with a system that won't allow him to use his many gifts and talents to help the patients in Swift Current and surrounding area. He is a nephrologist who can't practice here because the nephrologists in Regina want the patients referred to them. Anyone who has to travel to Regina or Saskatoon on a regular basis for their health care, such as dialysis, cannot believe we have this talented doctor in our midst but he is unable to treat them in their own health district. The patients who have to travel to Regina or Saskatoon for dialysis do not have to, because we have six dialysis machines right here in Swift Current that Dr. Tagboto is not allowed to use.

Does the health care system not realize how emotionally stressful (especially in our climate) it is to have to travel on a very frequent basis. And of course there is the expense to which patients and their families are put to make these frequent trips. The patient cannot drive themselves to these out of town appointments which in turn necessitates another family member taking time off work to drive them. And the spin off from that is that it leaves other family members without a vehicle for the day(s) of the appointment. Any reasonable administration would see that it is beneficial for patients to be able to see their specialist in their own region. It is no secret that stress plays a huge part in the overall health of someone who is fighting for their life.

My son has been ill for 10 years and we were doing a lot of travelling to Saskatoon to see his specialist there. Nothing new was ever tried there. Since Dr. Tagboto came to Swift Current, those trips have been eliminated. Not only that, my son developed a rare lung infection in addition to his Wegner's and had to be placed on a very intrusive drug called amikacin administered by IV for one year. (Luckily with the help of Home Care, he was able to have this done at home). I called Dr. Tagboto's office and left a message for him to call me back because I was concerned what would be the result if this drug was not effective. The next thing I knew, the receptionist at my office called me and said "Dr. Tagboto is here to see you." He realized the seriousness of the side-affects of this drug. He wanted to see me in person to explain this to me, because if the drug wasn't successful, there wouldn't be much hope for my son as it could be administered for this one year period only. Well the drug did what it was supposed to do and our son is still with us, although still very ill with his original Wegner's. One of the side-affects of the drug was to destroy what hearing he had left. That has since been rectified by cochlear implants.

My son's case is so rare that Dr. Tagboto and Dr. Venkatesh did a research paper on him.  

Dr. Tagboto also completed extra studies in prescription drugs, their side-affects, how they interact with each other. He is so careful and thorough when he prescribes medication for his patients.  

I cannot emphasize enough - why would Swift Current be willing to let this extraordinary doctor and caregiver leave our midst. To me it is a miracle that he chose Swift Current in the first place. He and his family love Swift Current. Now that we have him, please do not let him go!

To comment on this situation, see Facebook page Keep Dr. Tagboto in Swift Current.

Donna Berggren - Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current, Regina, Saskatoon

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Recent comments

  • A resident
    March 14, 2013 - 22:00

    Breaking new. Wall has done nothing to fix this problem... but if Dr. T showed up in Swift Current now, not only could he fail his exams repeatedly before being forced to leave, Wall would give him an extra $120,000 of your tax dollars while he was being underutilized in Swift Current... meanwhile, top local grads from Saskatoon and Regina would be mad, some guy who has not passed his exams is out earning them... leading to the BEST local grads moving to BC for lifestyle or Alberta for money!

  • dallas
    March 02, 2013 - 15:23

    Sheila, I don't think anyone would question the difficult situation your husband is in, but why is Dr. Tagboto not in charge of dialysis in Swift Current? I agree with Skeptic, this is a local health region decision. And I also question if Dr. Tagboto is fully certified, if not, ask him why he has not written all his Canadian exams. It may be tempting to get a quick fix, but rural and regional Saskatchewan should not be settling just to have Dr. Right Now, rather than waiting for Dr. Right. It is something that the health minister should address, though likely not something of his own doing. Still, the minister is responsible for the figure heads, or government pawns, they pay very handsomely to head provincial health regions!

  • Sheila Richardson
    February 28, 2013 - 23:00

    My husband is in "end stage" Kidney Failure.It has been recommended that he receive Dialysis 3 times a week. But as we have to travel to Regina & I have a full time job ( which has been cut) we travel 2 days a week. The travel conditions in the winter are not the best. Only this last Tuesday, I drove him back in bad conditions which as you can imagine are very stressfull to myself & my husband. The Cypress Health Region has the capacity to offer Dialysis!! But they only provide this treatment 3 days a week. The rest of the week the machines sit idle!! I am sure if Dr. Tagboto was in control of the "Renal Unit" in Swift Current, as his speciality is Nephrology we would receive much better care. My husband is #5 on the waiting list for Dialysis in Swift. The other patients waiting for the same treatment along with my husband could be accomodated if only the Renal Unit was avaliable for this extended time. I hope the Health Region and the Minister of Health Dustin Duncan can review and appreciate the concerns of the patients and the caregivers and let us get this situation resolved. Kidney Failure is not going away, it is an increasing problem and should be addressed as such.

  • skeptic
    February 27, 2013 - 16:39

    And how come Dr. T does not have time to see his family? 1 in 2 call means he's one of two nephrologists for a small city Regina and Saskatoon with 10 times the population have about half a dozen ... he cannot do dialysis? So, why's he so busy? Small city? Another doc who does the same stuff? And cannot dialyze anyway... so sends to Regina/Saskatoon? As per my longer comment, we are not getting the whole story! Do not stoop to just get anyone, get a licensed, locally trained expert, when the facilities and population can support them. Not another IMG who cannot pass the exams largely due to language barriers (Or in the case of your family med residents, another "IMG" who is really a spoiled, rich Canadian kid, who could not get into medical school via the front door/real standards here, so bought a high tuition spot in the tropics...)

  • Skeptic
    February 27, 2013 - 16:34

    There is not way the Regina nephrologists have blacklisted Swift Current. If Dr. Tagboto has passed all his Canadian exams, and the health region backs him, he can do whatever the health region allows him to. So, get the local health region to pick up the slack. Equally likely, he cannot pass his Canadian exams, like many a rural "specialist", in which case, maybe he should pass those first, before he's cut free of licensed specialists elsewhere. I do not know the REAL back story, but if Swift Current has its own dialysis equipment, Regina nephrologists have NO say. Don't blame them. Unlikely they are involved at all. TO Berggren, how do you recommend his "call" be dropped to 1 in 4? If 1 in 2 now, that means Swift need to find two more kidney doctors, willing to work in Swift Current. When this guy's already mad SOME ONE (Health Region?) won't let him do dialysis... and you want two more? Easy to have angry fixes. Perhaps a researched SW Booster article is the better follow up. Researching the ACTUAL barriers to this guy doing dialysis, which may include his own training, or local health region. But stop slamming some doctors, in another health region, who have no ability to regulate who Swift Current hires, or what the local health region (ie more NOT doctors) lets him do.

  • Terry Shumaker
    February 26, 2013 - 20:44

    Dr. Tagboto has not been treated fairly in Swift Current....He is highly valued by his patients as well as everyone who knows him.Please do not allow the Health Care system to let him go...we will soon be unable to get anyone to come to our city if promises to Doctors are not honoured.and they are not allowed to do their work .Something needs to change in our health care! t o

  • Red Hen
    February 26, 2013 - 18:09

    Recommend this on all your Facebook pages! Tweet and Retweet! Swift Current cannot let Saskatchewan's health care politics dictate what is happening in Swift Current - the birthplace of Canada's health care system! We should be leading the way in our Premier's riding and setting an example for the rest of the province, not shying away from logic and ducking responsibility.