WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Three weeks after the murder of a Wichita doctor, some of his patients said they are still struggling to find care.
The doors are locked and a closed sign now hangs outside the office of late Wichita Doctor Achutha Reddy. Former patient Susan Murphy said Reddy’s murder is still raw.
“A lot of emotions are built up because of Dr, Reddy and how much he helped me, how much he was there for me,” said Murphy. “He through the years became a mentor, a friend, a therapist, a psychiatrist.”
Murphy suffers from bipolar disorder and depression. She relied on Dr. Reddy’s services for 17 years. Murphy said she is still trying to come to terms with his death.
“Terrible. I haven’t slept. My voice, I can tell is pressured now,” she said.
Murphy, like so many other patients of the holistic psychiatrist, was left in limbo after Reddy was killed on September 13. Now, nearly three weeks later, Murphy said she has finally had contact with a new psychiatrist. However, she said she is concerned her new doctor won’t be able to prescribe her medications.
“Dr. Reddy, many times, would only see me for 5 minutes and was able to prescribe meds,” she said.
David Kapten is the program director at Wichita’s Breakthrough Club, a social and vocational program for people with a mental illness.
“Dr. Reddy had seen our members for quite a long time and they had built very strong relationships. He was one of the kind that went out of his way to accommodate, to schedule our members in when they were not scheduled to,” Kapten said. “We have two members in Breakthrough right now that are really struggling.”
Kapten said about 10 Breakthrough members were patients of Dr. Reddy.
“I think Dr. Reddy’s office is trying to accommodate them, but still they haven’t. Most of them, ones I have talked to say they haven’t been able to find another psychiatrist just because it’s difficult in Wichita to find a psychiatrist,” Kapten said. “It’s a system, a systematic problem getting somebody to receive services in Kansas is sort of difficult. You have to go through a lot of channels.”
Officials with Wichita mental health organizations told KSN they are working to make sure none of Dr. Reddy’s patients fall through the cracks. The Behavioral Medicine Specialists said they’re serving about 30 of his patients. The Mental Health Association said it’s caring for about 55 of his patients.
Shawna Allen with the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas said finding care for each of Dr. Reddy’s patients has been a challenge because mental health services were already operating with a skeleton staff before Reddy’s death. She said, however, the mental health community has come together to treat those in need.
Allen said there are about 5 different organizations and providers helping to fill the gap. She said one of her part-time doctors at the Mental Health Association has started working another day to help serve Reddy’s patients.
Murphy said she has an appointment scheduled for mid-October to meet with a new psychiatrist. She said she is hopeful, yet concerned about her overall well-being.
“He got me out of that depression and I’m like, ‘who is going to do that now when that happens?'” she said.