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Merritt man files complaint over derogatory comments on medical file

Physiotherapist at Royal Inland Hospital referred to patient as ‘redneck hick to death’ and ‘uneducated’
Royal Inland Hospital is in downtown Kamloops, at Columbia Street and Third Avenue. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week)

~Kamloops This Week

A Merritt man has filed a complaint with Interior Health and WorkSafeBC against a physiotherapist at Royal Inland Hospital who left derogatory comments on the man’s online worker’s compensation claim, including “redneck hick to death, uneducated, seems to fear his own shadow.”

In December, Robert Munro was working at his job as a delivery driver for City Furniture in Merritt when he sustained a significant back injury, leaving him unable to work. After sustaining this injury, Munro went to his family doctor and started a Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claim. After being unable to work for nearly three months, Munro’s WCB claim led him to an appointment with a physiotherapist at Royal Inland Hospital.

The physiotherapist works as the coordinator of the WorkSafeBC-sponsored return to work program (called OR1), which handles WCB claims similar to the one Munro filed. On March 10, Munro said he visited the physiotherapist and they discussed the injury, including a possible treatment plan moving forward.

“I was excited to be getting back to work,” Munro said of his thoughts leading up to the appointment.

Unfortunately for Munro and his family, this meeting would only yield unpleasant results for them. When Munro received a notification on his online WCB claim portal the next day that the physiotherapist had uploaded his initial assessment, they checked it — and came across the derogatory comments.

“I’ve never seen my husband cry over the doctor before,” said Jessica Munro, Robert’s wife. “He’s never been treated this way before and he’s very upset about it. His mental health was already down from not being able to work for a couple of months and this really isn’t helping.”

What the family read from Munro’s online WCB claim portal was a communication from the physiotherapist to an Interior Health Authority representative.

“If MRI shows absolutely zero evidence [of] pain we could even consider immediate discharge,” the physiotherapist wrote in his notes. “Or, give him a chance with an OR1, but again it was very theatrical and I’m not buying half of what he’s saying. As I said, redneck hick to death, uneducated, seems to fear his own shadow, and all the red flags that suggest that I think he’s playing the system more than he should. That’s a personal opinion, though. Again, very little clinical finding to support where he’s at, besides to be just a giant player.”

Munro and his family said they were confused as to how a medical professional who is supposed to specialize in workplace injuries could write such things about Munro, who the family said is hard-working to the bone. As they kept reading, the lengthy message and the words they read only got worse.

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