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Applied Ethics in Mental Health CareAn Interdisciplinary Reader$
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Dominic A. Sisti, Arthur L. Caplan, and Hila Rimon-Greenspan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019682

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019682.001.0001

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The Price of a Gift: An Approach to Receiving Gifts from Patients in Psychiatric Practice

The Price of a Gift: An Approach to Receiving Gifts from Patients in Psychiatric Practice

Chapter:
(p.303) 21 The Price of a Gift: An Approach to Receiving Gifts from Patients in Psychiatric Practice
Source:
Applied Ethics in Mental Health Care
Author(s):

David H. Brendel

James Chu

Jennifer Radden

Howard Leeper

Harrison G. Pope

Jacqueline Samson

Gail Tsimprea

J. Alexander Bodkin

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262019682.003.0021

When a patient or patient’s family presents a psychiatrist with a gift, the clinician is challenged to maintain appropriate professional boundaries but have the flexibility to respond with warmth and appreciation. The psychiatrist must consider such factors as the intention of the gift, its value to the patient, and the anticipated effect of accepting or refusing it on the patient and the treatment. Psychiatric practitioners are ethically obligated to consider patients’ best interests when deciding about how to handle the offer of a gift. Ethical deliberations about such situations occur on a case-by-case basis and require careful analysis of how to promote the patient’s best interest while adhering to professional ethics. In this article, members of the McLean Hospital Ethics Committee present a pragmatic model for managing the presentation of a gift from a patient or a patient’s family member.

Keywords:   Gifts, Boundaries, Psychiatry, Ethics\, Professionalism

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