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What's the worst gift you've ever received from a patient?

  • 14 Comments

Sure, you’re not supposed to accept gifts from patients, but sometimes that might not be such a bad thing.

A blog this week on nursingtimes.net asks whether nurses should ever accept gifts from patients. It’s a tricky ethical question that has brought out strong views for and against.

But before you defend patients’ right to show their gratitude to nurses with a small token, or argue that this might influence the quality of care they receive, Beyond the Bedpan would like to draw your attention to a much less serious issue.

What if some gifts from patients are just a bit, well, not what you’d hoped for, to put it lightly?

For example, a thread on Facebook asking nurses about the strangest gifts they’ve received throws up some real corkers. We have to say first prize goes to a picture of the nurse leaning over the patient to change his colostomy bag - blown up to poster size. Pig intestines were not far behind.

Perhaps you’ve received your own weird and wonderful presents from patients. Post yours below - we’ve got a prize for the best answer.

  • 14 Comments

Readers' comments (14)

  • A bottle of plum flavoured laxative After discussing constipation with a patient I told her that I had the same problem, I couldnt stand the taste of lactulose. She told me about this plum flavoured stuff and presented me with a bottle of it when she left.

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  • As a student nurse, myself and a staff nurse were assisting a confused elderly gentlemen to use the commode. He sat for a little while but to small result. He stood up, and I was given the task of attending to his hygiene needs. As I set about this, he made a large deposit onto my hand. Nice. Thank the ward, for gloves and wipes!

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  • Many many years ago, working in community, an elderly lady insisted on giving me her dead sisters teas-made, complete with fur lining in the pot and works, and various stains. To refuse would have been insulting to her, but I could never have used it.

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  • As a student nurse, myself and a staff nurse were assisting a confused elderly gentlemen to use the commode. He sat for a little while but to small result. He stood up, and I was given the task of attending to his hygiene needs. As I set about this, he made a large deposit onto my hand. Nice. Thank the ward, for gloves and wipes!

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  • A lovely lady, although very confused, once gave me a sweet. However it hadn't got a wrapper and came from a drawer in her bedroom that I had removed a wet pad, knickers, teeth and a collection of tissues from a couple of days earlier. The drawer had been cleaned, I said thank you, but decided not to risk it! I guess its the thought that counts...

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  • Being given a box of chocolate brazil nuts, minus the sealed wrapping and minus the chocolate coating!!! Bless.

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  • When I was working in Australia a patient wanted to give me a stuffed baby emu as a leaving present so that I would remember her and Australia - I've never been so glad to say that I wasn't allowed to accept gifts.

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  • Whilst working in a community hospital, a patient that I had nursed many many times as an inpatient, requested to see me 'urgently' during her outpatient appointment. Thinking something was desperately wrong, I went down to see the lady, who presented me with a bottle of 'Holy Water' from her recent trip to Lourdes. I didnt have the heart to refuse this gift from this tiny frail and immobile old lady, who had carried this bottle all the way from Lourdes, especially for me. I did wonder though, why she felt I needed a gallon bottle rather than the smaller traditional ones!!!

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  • Years ago whilst working night duty on the geriatric unit where patients stay could be up to two years, a lovely male patient who had been with us for well over a year gave me his old pyjama's as a gift as he had decided to wear the hospital pj's! Um nice for a then newly married female! Yes you heard right hospital pyjama's were found in abundance in the linen cupboards of every male ward for long stay patients or thoose who did not own pj's of their own.

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  • As a CPN I once visited an elderly spinster and her thoroughly spoilt terrier, Johnnie.
    I accepted a cup of tea and a slice of Battenburg cake. As I was leaving the lady apologised for the marzipan being unusually thin. She explained that she had repair the cake after Johnnie had helped himself to some earlier in the day.

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