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Transplant Proc. 2008 Apr;40(3):663-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.02.033.

Communication between organ donor families and recipients: a definitely controversial subject.

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Department of Surgery and Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of Sao Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


In transplant centers, few topics are more controversial than communication between organ donor families (ODF) and recipients (RE). The Organ Procurement Organizations and transplant centers have felt obliged to protect the confidentiality and interests of ODF and RE. However, some authors have reported favorable effects of contact between ODF and RE. This study sought to investigate the current situation of the communication between ODF and RE from the viewpoint of transplanted patients (n = 50) and waiting transplant patients (n = 50) at a Brazilian University Hospital, ODF (n = 10), physicians from transplant centers (n = 50), as well as the opinion of the general population of a Brazilian city (n = 100). This work was developed as a survey whose questions related to the issue of communication between ODF and RE. The results showed that the majority of transplanted patients (82%) and patients awaiting transplant (60%) wanted to meet ODF to express their gratitude for receiving the organ. Likewise, ODF (67%) wanted to have a meeting with recipients, which allowed them to confirm the benefit of their donation. The general population was also favorable (66%) to ODF and RE communication. In contrast, the physicians (74%) were opposed to the ODF and RE contact. They affirmed that direct contact could lead to serious emotional conflicts or attempts of material involvement. One believes that decisions concerning the contact between ODF and RE would have to be determined by the involved parties. The transplant team could analyze the requests case by case, but ODF and RE must have the right to make the final decision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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