Friday, January 19, 2007

Up to your ears in ponder

This is from (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health).

Public attitudes and behavior regarding organ donation.

Organ transplantation has been the subject of much attention; unfortunately, relatively little has been published about public attitudes toward organ donation. To better document public perceptions on organ donation, a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,056 respondents was conducted. We found that nearly 94% of the population had heard about organ transplantation, but only 19% of these people carried donor cards. The results indicated that people are somewhat more likely to donate the organs of a relative who had just died (53%) than they are to donate their own organs (50%). People were most likely to donate kidneys (50%) and least likely to donate skin (40%). Most respondents (58%) felt that next of kin should not be able to override a person's desire to donate organs as signified by an organ donor card. Few people (7%) supported the concept of presumed consent. We conclude that while the public is supportive of organ transplantation, it is not overly enthusiastic about organ donation. Awareness of this paradox on behalf of the public may actually facilitate organ donation.

KIE: A telephone survey of 2,056 persons was conducted to ascertain public attitudes toward organ donation. Although 94% of the respondents had heard about organ transplantation, only 19% carried donor cards and only 28% of the others said they were willing to carry one. More persons (53%) were willing to donate a relative's organs than their own (50%), and people were more likely to donate kidneys (50%) than other organs. Only 7% supported the concept of presumed consent to donation, and 58% of those polled felt that relatives should not be able to override a person's wish to donate as signified by a donor card. The authors conclude that people are very supportive of organ transplantation but are not as enthusiastic about donating organs. Further study is needed to determine whether greater understanding of the concept of brain death would facilitate donation of cadaver organs.

PMID: 3999296 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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