Art Caplan: Heiress’ gifts to medical workers raise thorny ethical issues

Art Caplan has a new opinion piece at MSNBC.com discussing the ethical issues raised by heiress Huguette Clark’s sometimes enormous gifts to the medical workers who cared for her while she lived in a New York hospital for over 20 years — despite being in good health.

[…] Clark’s favorite private duty nurse, Hadassah Peri, received more than $31 million in gifts during 20 years of service, including enough money to buy five homes, jewelry and other luxuries. Clark gave lavishly to Peri’s husband and children, too.

Other caregivers also got gifts, although not in those amounts. Still others got nothing. Was it ethical for those who got gifts to accept them?

Clark’s personal staff members were not the only ones with an eye on her fortune. The hospital where she lived pushed hard to get Clark to make a substantial gift, using their development staff to try to pry a promise from her, the book reports.

In 2004, Dedman and Newell write, hospital officials threatened Clark with having to move from her beloved room if she did not make a contribution of $125 million to forestall the sale of the building.

So what is the ethical deal?

Read the full article here.

One thought to “Art Caplan: Heiress’ gifts to medical workers raise thorny ethical issues”

  1. the heiress probably thought — Hey, it’s my money, I can do what I want. Almost like tipping the wait staff. However, in a hospital setting, a healthcare worker who is making a different wage for different patients probably is going to spend more time with the patient paying a higher rate, at the expense of a the paying a lower wage, who is going to get a lesser quality of care.
    Or, if a weathly patient is reliant of a care giver for basic feeding, and cleaning, and daily living — What happens if the healthcare worker EXPECTS extra compensation? They could withhold treatment if they feel wronged. Slippery problem!!!

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