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Soc Sci Med. 2007 Jan;64(2):439-50. Epub 2006 Oct 24.

The decision-making process of parents regarding organ donation of their brain dead child: a Greek study.

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Faculty of Nursing, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


The purpose of this qualitative study, which was part of a larger study on parental bereavement, was to explore the decision-making process of parents who were invited to donate the organs and tissues of their brain dead child. Research objectives were to investigate how parents reach a decision and which factors affect consent or refusal regarding organ donation. The experiences of 22 parents of 14 brain dead children, hospitalized in two pediatric intensive care units (PICU) in Athens, were studied through semi-structured interviews. Data collection and analysis of the overall study were performed according to grounded theory methodology. Factors that influenced parents' decisions were identified and classified into (a) personal factors, (b) conditions of organ request, (c) parents' prior knowledge and experience with organ donation or serious illness, and (d) interpersonal factors. Findings can help care providers to facilitate the decision-making process and respond to parental needs while taking into account the socio-cultural context within which decisions are made. The donation request is meaningful and effective when it is integrated into an approach that offers ongoing support to parents who are faced with the unexpected death of their child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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