Attitudes about organ and tissue donation among the general public and blood donors in Hong Kong

P K Li, C K Lin, P K Lam, C C Szeto, J T Lau, L Cheung, M Wong, A Y Chan, W M Ko
Progress in Transplantation 2001, 11 (2): 98-103

CONTEXT: The cadaveric organ and tissue donation rate in Hong Kong is not satisfactory; 1 million blood donors are registered and more than 300,000 are active. However, the current attitudes toward organ and tissue donation in the general public and blood donors of Hong Kong are unknown.

METHODS: Random general public (n = 1018) and blood donors (n = 1227) of Chinese origin, with age ranging from 16 to 60 years, were interviewed using a standard verified questionnaire that examines attitudes and knowledge of organ and tissue donation.

RESULTS: The mean age of the general public and blood donors were 32.6 and 28.9 years, respectively. Of the general public, 44.4% were men and among blood donors, 60% were men. About 56% of both groups thought that organ donation is an obligation of citizens. Blood donors were more aware than the general public about the types of organs that can be donated. When compared with the general public, a significantly higher percentage of blood donors were willing to donate their organs (81% vs 53%), had heard about organ donation cards (98.3% vs 89.5%), and had signed the cards (49.9% vs 22.6%). About 70% of both groups who had signed a card were carrying it. Thirty-nine percent of the general public and 17% of blood donors had not decided whether they would donate. For blood donors, 49.7% were willing to donate their relatives' organs, compared with 41.8% of the general public. Most individuals in both groups would not object to their relatives' decision to donate. About two thirds of individuals in both groups disagreed with the concept of an opt-out law, though only 20% of the general public and 14.4% of blood donors would refuse donation if an opt-out law were in practice.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that blood donors have better knowledge of organ donation and are more willing to donate their organs and sign an organ donation card than the general public. However, a substantial proportion of blood donors have not signed a donor card. It would be useful to design promotion programs to facilitate blood donors' participation in organ donation.

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