We received a few letters in response to the December 2011 Ethics Forum, which asked the question: What is your personal policy about accepting gifts? We wish to thank Dr. Colmegna for sharing her thoughts. Keep those letters coming!
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Explore This IssueApril 2012
Common Issue for Physicians
You are absolutely right in that this is a common situation to which we, as physicians, are exposed. Mainly, in Canada, presents come from grateful patients rather than from colleagues.
There are few things I do:
- If patients bring material things (i.e., “Came from a trip in Greece and brought you this scarf”), I give the present to one of the members of the team (a nurse, secretary, resident, or student) that does not know where the present comes from. This is because I feel that what the patient is grateful for is the result of the care that WE (and not ME) as a team provide.
- If the patient tells me that he wants to make us a present, then I suggest that, although he should not feel he has to do so, if he decides to, he can donate to the Hospital Foundation or the Arthritis East Africa Initiative.
Ines Colmegna, MD
McGill University, Royal Victoria Hospital