Organ donation: a cross-sectional survey of the knowledge and personal views of Turkish health care professionals

H S Akgün, N Bilgin, I Tokalak, A Kut, M Haberal
Transplantation Proceedings 2003, 35 (4): 1273-5
Health care professionals (HCPs) represent a key element in the cadaveric organ donation process. This cross-sectional survey assessed HCPs' knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to cadaveric organ donation and transplantation. One thousand one hundred eighty-four HCPs were randomly selected from various units of five health care institutions located in three major Turkish cities. Each individual completed a questionnaire. The ages ranged between 18 and 63 years. By examining the tendency to organ procurement, 78.6% of the physicians and 69.5% of the nurses stated that establishing brain death during ventilator support is the optimum condition. The results indicated good overall knowledge of the criteria for brain death. Physicians displayed significantly better understanding of the criteria for brain death and optimal conditions for organ procurement. While physicians have significantly better knowledge about kidney transplantation, there was no difference for liver transplantation. Compared to nurses, doctors had significantly better knowledge of which organs can be used in the current transplantation process. Although 44.2% claimed they were willing to donate their organs, only 17.9% actually carried a legal donation card. The rate of willingness to donate was significantly higher among doctors than nurses. Physicians have significantly better knowledge about legal aspects of organ donation and transplantation. Overall, the survey revealed that lack of knowledge has a negative impact on people's attitudes toward organ donation even among health care professionals. Improvements must be made to develop a nationwide Donor Hospital Education Program that will provide training concerning transplantation and organ donation.

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