In December of 2022, Robert Munro was working at his job as a delivery driver for City Furniture in Merritt. Everything was going as usual, until Munro went to lift a heavy piece of furniture, sustaining a significant back injury. Since his injury, Munro has been out of work, and now the Merritt local and his family are sounding the alarm bells following derogatory comments made on Munro’s worker’s compensation claim by a Kamloops physiotherapist.

After sustaining this injury, Munro went to see 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 specialist Dr. Martin Giguere at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital. 

Giguere is a physiotherapist that 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 Friday March 10, 2023 Munro visited Giguere, and they discussed anything relating to the injury including a possible treatment plan moving forward. 

“I was excited to be getting back to work,” said Munro 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 WCB claim portal the next day that the doctor had uploaded his initial assessment, they eagerly checked to see what the news was. 

“I’ve never seen my husband cry over the doctor before, 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 months and this really isn’t helping,” said Jessica Munro, Robert’s wife. 

What the family read from Munro’s online WCB claim portal was a communication from Giguere to an Interior Health Authority representative, and truly shocked them. 

“If MRI shows absolutely zero evidence [of] pain we could even consider immediate discharge,” said Giguere 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 with workplace injuries could say these things about Munro, who the whole family knows to be hard working to the bone. As they kept reading, the lengthy message and the words they read only got worse. 

“There’s multiple issues to discuss, so I’ll try to be brief,” said Giguere. 

“First of all, uneducated massive giant p*ssy. Very, very pain focused. I moved his leg for a straight raise and his kneecap popped, which happens often, and he went ‘ow!’ Like this type of moaning. Irrelevant.”

Giguere then goes on to note that Munro is half bent over and cannot stand up straight, he cannot squat and can barely walk, which is what the former delivery driver had been dealing with on and off since the injury in December. Following these shocking statements, the doctor continued on, claiming Munro was “uneducated,” and drew connection to Munro residing in Merritt.

“He lives in Merritt and he has no license. Would not be surprised. His uneducated lowlife style led him to a DUI or driving with impairment DYU anyway, so he doesn’t have a license,” said Giguere. 

The Munro family was in shock at these assumptions. They quickly saved screenshots of the communications in the WCB portal, before the cruel comments disappeared without explanation. 

“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” said Munro himself. 

“It is completely unprofessional, but after hearing that he has done this to many others I felt a bit more at ease because it wasn’t just me.” 

“I absolutely think this was a general discrimination against people who come from small towns,” added Munro’s wife Jessica.

Royal Inland Hospital boasts an inclusive and non judgemental environment for all patients regardless of background, stating they have an action plan to ensure that all members on staff treat patients equally and respectfully. However, Robert and Jessica Munro believe that this was not upheld by Dr. Giguere, and have filed a complaint against him with the hospital, the BC College of Physicians, and WorkSafeBC.

Interior Health Authority provided a statement to CFJC about the incident. 

“We are currently investigating this complaint. We have only learned of these concerns. We can say that the language from this transcript is not what we would expect from an Interior Health employee regarding a patient or client and we will be following up on these concerns. While I cannot speak to the individual personnel issues, Interior Health does have a code of conduct that outlines expectations for all employees, including our duty to be respectful and compassionate to the individuals we serve,” stated Jayme Newton, IH’s Thompson Cariboo Clinical Operations Director.

Munro said that his opinion of medical professionals was briefly impacted by this incident, but he believes that this was the unprofessional opinion of Giguere and not the system as a whole. He is working with his representative to find a new physiotherapist, and begin his journey to recovering from this injury.