Elsewhere online
September 29, 2015

Many Cancer Doctors Asked to ID Donors Among Patients

Development offices at leading cancer centers are increasingly teaching doctors to discern and act on fundraising opportunities among people they treat, The New York Times writes, citing new research by a University of Michigan oncologist and ethicist.

More than 400 cancer doctors at 40 major facilities were surveyed as part of the unprecedented study, published online Monday in the The Journal of Clinical Oncology. Nearly half said they had been instructed on identifying wealthy patients who might become contributors, and a third have been asked to solicit directly.

Dr. Reshma Jagsi said she initiated the study after taking part in training sessions and other meetings that covered identifying prospective donors and helping them find ways to give. She said she wanted to know more about the ethical issues this raised but found no studies on the subject in medical literature.

Medical centers have varying policies on doctors discussing giving with patients, but Dr. Joseph A. Carrese, a primary care physician and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins, said the practice "is happening and all signs are that it is going to continue and that it will increase.” Patient philanthropy is "an important source of resources when money is tight," he said.