Factors Influencing the Willingness of Allied Health Students to Donate Organs or Tissues

S H Elsafi, M M Al-Adwani, K M Al-Jubran, M M Abu Hassan, E M Al Zahrani
Transplantation Proceedings 2017, 49 (6): 1215-1220

BACKGROUND: There has been an increase in the number of patients waiting for organ transplantation.

METHODS: A questionnaire on knowledge and attitude toward organ donation was completed by 434 allied health students.

RESULTS: Overall knowledge about the various aspects of organ donation was adequate and was higher among women and clinical students. Although the majority were willing to be living donors for their families, very few students supported deceased organ donation, and even fewer of them had thought about an organ donation card. Despite the good knowledge, an overall positive attitude toward deceased donation was held by only 44% of the students. In contrast, the attitude toward directed living organ donation to family members was favorable in 83.1% of the respondents, which seems to be influenced by cultural and sociodemographic factors. Our findings indicate that the most frequent cause of refusal to donate organs among students with negative attitudes was the mistrust of medical staff regarding brain death diagnosis (49.9%), followed by bodily concerns (18.1%) and religion (9.9%). Quite a few of our respondents supported commercial donation, which was attributed to the less knowledgeable groups. Respondents who were willing to donate organs indicated that the reason was for helping others and sympathy. This study identified that the main source of information about organ donation for the respondents was television, followed by relatives/friends and the internet.

CONCLUSIONS: The misconception of the students toward deceased donation needs to be improved by integrating the concepts of brain death within the curriculum of allied health students.

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