For many patients and families, the opportunity to express gratitude for physicians’ excellent care, and then having that gratitude accepted and reciprocated, can be a deeply meaningful and healing experience. Many patients who become donors first raise their hands to acknowledge physicians whose care goes beyond what is expected.

In celebration of Doctor’s Day, we have gathered three powerful testimonials that illustrate the significance of these meaningful relationships.

A family member expresses her gratitude for a physician’s extraordinary care:

My mother felt better with the oxygen tank. Her breathing was much worse without it, but the tank hadn’t been considered a need. I called the doctor and asked if there was a way we could get this for her when she goes to manor care. I didn’t care if we have to pay for it. But I needed the doctor’s requisition to say we needed this. He said, “I’ll get that done.” And he got it done. I mean, just those extra steps, taking care of me because I was taking care of her. He helped me as well as her. I’m a pretty expressive person; I expressed to him all the things he did, how it mattered.

A mother shares how her connection with her daughter’s physician began:

My daughter woke up one morning and the whites of her eyes were yellow. Her doctor did a bunch of blood work that indicated that her liver function tests, her liver numbers, were extremely high. The doctor talked to us about a transplant. Ashley got the call and she went in for a thirteen-hour surgery. And now we are five years post-transplant, and she is an amazing little girl, at the top of her class. And I found myself constantly overjoyed and thanking everybody who came in. We’re just so connected to this hospital. Very connected, on a deep level, and so grateful that we felt that we needed to give back in a bigger way.

A patient explains why her physician’s care, referring her to the specialist who saved her life, is so meaningful to her:

Firstly, here’s somebody who’s extremely busy. And yet he makes time to figure out what’s happening in the world around him; he’s not so insular, just focusing on what’s happening inside the institution. Second, think about the generosity of spirit. Knowing that I’m not going to be treated at the cancer institute but actually somewhere else, and he’s probably going to do some of the follow up. And third, think about the humility—he doesn’t believe that the best thing has to be homegrown. That generosity is incredible.

When physicians take the extra steps, however routine they may seem, patients and families notice. The expression of gratitude is just one way grateful patients and families reach out to acknowledge the care and connection. Some feel inclined to give back, offering time, talent, or treasure in order to honor the great care they’ve received.


The Art and Science of Healthcare Philanthropy