Intended for healthcare professionals

Personal Views


BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 13 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:128
  1. Huw Morgan

    If they are in general practice long enough in any one place all doctors receive gifts from their patients. General practitioners, living as they do with a particular population for perhaps two or three decades, get used to the various manifestations of patient gratitude that come their way. Among the more unusual items that I have been given are a leather jacket, two original oil paintings, an electronic chess set, a wall hanging with real peacock feathers, and a light up model of the Taj Mahal. Chocolates, small items of clothing, and alcohol are more standard.

    It is interesting to reflect on the meaning that lies behind the giving of a gift by a patient. Such giving can be broadly divided into three catgories. Firstly, there is the simple and genuine expression of gratitude for some service rendered, which is perceived to be above the ordinary. This is one of those small and rewarding pleasures of medical practice that help maintain the doctor's faith in human nature. It may follow an event which for the doctor was a perfectly normal aspect …

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