Merritt back to seven doctors with arrival of new family physician

By on September 25, 2017
Dr. Patrick Goetz is the newest doctor to move to Merritt. (Michael Potestio/Herald)

The newest addition at The Medical Clinic brings Merritt’s complement of doctors back up to seven — the number the town had before two longtime family physicians retired in 2016.

Dr. Patrick Goetz is accepting patients as of Oct. 1 with a tentative start date of Nov. 2.

“There’s a little bit of a process, basically transferring my American license up here,” said Goetz.

The 32-year-old recently graduated from medical school in Grenada with clinical training in upstate New York and New Jersey, before completing his residency in Tucson, AZ.

“The program was a great fit for coming to Merritt. It really focused on more rural medicine,” said Goetz, adding that he spent about six months in surrounding communities that had similar population sizes compared to Merritt.

Goetz, who was born in Germany, was raised right here in B.C., having spent most of his childhood in Kelowna.

“I went to high school in Kelowna, [was an] undergrad in Kelowna,” said Goetz.

He decided to come to Merritt because of his training in rural, family medicine.

“Really you have two ways you can do [family medicine]. You can practise in a big city where you have all your specialists, or you can practise in a smaller city where you don’t have all your specialists,” said Goetz.

Working in a smaller community will allow him to gain a lot of experience, which was one of the main reasons he decided to come to Merritt and, Goetz said, he’s interested in working shifts in the emergency room at the Nicola Valley Hospital.

Goetz will be in familiar company, having known Dr. Morgan Lyttle — who started practising in Merritt earlier this year — since they were teenagers.

“I met him in Grade 8 in high school, and then [we’ve been] joined at the hip since then,” said Goetz.

The two were even roommates for a while in Arizona during their residencies, Goetz told the Herald.

In January of 2016 both Dr. Urbanus Bester and Dr. Andries Smit — two longtime family physicians who served thousands of patients — announced they were closing their practices leaving the town with just five doctors.

This past February, Dr. Lyttle bridged the gap as Merritt’s sixth doctor and began practicing at The Medical Clinic. Goetz fills that last hole as the seventh doctor, as one of four physicians who now practise out of Dr. Smit’s former office on Charters Street.

Dr. Duncan Ross, who is the chief of medical staff at the Nicola Valley Hospital, told the Herald it’s good to see two younger doctors come to Merritt to replace the two who recently retired.

“That’ll bring our complement [of doctors] up to where we need to be at least in the short term,” said Ross.

One Comment

  1. Lynne Jorgesen

    September 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Hi all, no offense intended, but I believe the word is “complement”, not compliment….

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