It was her fourth pregnancy, but only her second child. After struggling with miscarriages and infertility for three years, with the assistance of her physician, the patient was able to give birth to a healthy son. Her journey had been heartbreaking, but she knew that she had not been alone when the physician asked to take a video of the baby.

[The doctor] was on her iPhone FaceTiming with her children because she’d been here all day. And she asked, “Can I show them the baby?” And we said, “Of course, go ahead.” She showed them the baby and said, “This is the baby we’ve been praying for.” That is why we tried to find a way to say thank you to her, because she was going home and praying for us. Praying that she could help us and that she could find our miracle for us. And so, to know that we had that kind of connection with her—we’ll never forget it.

The patient went on to contact the Foundation and ask about making a contribution. She chose to designate her money for the same kinds of services that had helped her.

I was able to designate our money so specifically because of what happened to us. And I wanted it to go to women’s and children’s service because of [our doctor] being, you know, our person. I wanted it to be something that would mean something to her.

For this patient, her motivations were twofold. It was important to make a difference in a way that was meaningful based on her own experience, and it was equally important to do something meaningful for her doctor, because of how special that relationship was to her.

In our work with physicians and other health professionals, we often share that what is routine for them may be life changing for a patient or family member. What seems like everyday care is, to a patient, something incredibly important that inspires gratitude and a desire to give back. In many of these cases, the physician has played such a significant role in this experience that, for the patient, honoring the physician is one important goal of his or her philanthropy.

What does your organization do to provide patients with an opportunity to express their gratitude? What steps can be taken to ensure that patients who want to honor their important physician relationships through philanthropy are able to do so? Share your thoughts by starting a conversation on social media.


The Art and Science of Healthcare Philanthropy