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Organ donation in the accident and emergency department: a study of relatives' views.
  1. A Wellesley,
  2. E Glucksman,
  3. R Crouch
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, King's College Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVE: To determine whether recently bereaved people would object to being asked about organ donation immediately after the death of their relative. METHODS: A telephone interview of 78 recently bereaved relatives of people who had died in an inner city accident and emergency (A&E) department; 68 (87%) agreed to participate in the study and were sent a questionnaire. Outcome measures were views on being asked about organ donation in the A&E department immediately after the death of a relative and knowledge of the possibility for organ donation in A&E after a sudden death. RESULTS: 37 questionnaires were returned: 27 (72.9%) of those who responded would not have minded being asked, five would have minded, and five did not know or did not fill in the questionnaire; 29 were aware that organs could be donated following a death in A&E. Only six people had discussed organ donation before the bereavement. Only two of the people who died and seven of their relatives carried a donor card. Sixteen had heard about the NHS donor register. CONCLUSIONS: Most those responding would not have minded being asked about organ donation following a sudden death. More education is needed in two main areas: (1) to raise public awareness about the shortage of donor organs; (2) to improve the medical and nursing confidence in discussing these difficult issues sensitively but more openly and frequently.

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