Doctor In Hot Water For Asking Patients To Fund His Retirement

Not everyone was pleased by his request.

Dr. Myron MacDonald -- a West Vancouver, Canada, general practitioner who, after 48 years in practice, sent his patients a two-page letter asking for their financial help so he could afford retirement -- may have gotten himself in trouble.

MacDonald, who described his career as “a pleasure, not a chore,” said he didn’t make much money during his career because he ran a low-volume practice that allowed him to spend time with each patient. He wrote to his patients that he has limited savings and no pension and asked them to assist him by donating whatever they could.

“Any amount will be of help to me,” he wrote. “Perhaps $20 to $30 a month on your credit card could work for you.”

But the letter may have landed him in hot water. He is facing scrutiny from the regulatory B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons. The outgoing message on MacDonald’s office phone said the office has been closed. He did not respond to messages left by The Huffington Post.

MacDonald, 74, billed $163,978 last year, according to the Medical Services Commission. The doctor told the Vancouver Sun said that his business expenses ate up much of that money.

But according to The Sun, B.C.’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, which regulates the medical profession in the province, slammed MacDonald’s actions.

In an emailed statement the regulatory body released, it said that MacDonald’s request violated Canadian medical principles.

“Any physicians who request money from patients to support him or her in retirement would be contravening a foundational principle which every physician is required to abide by: Do not exploit patients for personal advantage,” a spokesperson wrote. The spokesman said the college expected to resolve the matter within the next few days and that there would be no formal investigation or discipline if MacDonald took steps to make things right. 

Canada’s health care is provided to all citizens through socialized health insurance plans. It is publicly funded and administered on a provincial or territorial basis, within guidelines set by the federal government.

MacDonald was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace and served as a medic on the environmental group’s campaigns to save the whales in the 1970s. According to his letter, he spent four years circumnavigating the globe by sailboat after his time with Greenpeace.

His letter also reminds patients to take their Vitamin D, and promises to continue nagging them to do so.

Here is the letter he sent to patients. What do you think, readers?


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