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W Rowinski, A Ostrowski, L Adadynski, B Barcikowska, M Lao, W Lisik, B Lagiewska, K Madej, G Michalak, J Walaszewski
Ann Transplant 1996; 1(1): 18-22
The shortage of donor organs has been the main obstacle to the expansion of transplantation programs. Recent public opinion survey documented acceptance of the cadaveric kidney procurement in our country but some reluctance to brain death and presumed consent concepts. Recently, the survey was carried out within the medical community to find out whether the level of knowledge and the attitude toward donation has an influence on the slow development of the transplantation program. A questionnaire was addressed to: 10 I0 general practitioners, neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists; 926 ICU and neurosurgical nurses and 1760 students of 12 medical schools of the country. Vast majority of doctors, nurses and last year medical students accept retrieval and transplantation of kidneys and the heart, but not of the liver. Acceptance of this procedure among junior medical students and university students was lower (78% vs 98%). Most of the respondents would agree to donate their kidneys and other organs, but 20% would protest against harvesting of the organs from their relatives. 100% of the physicians and 80% of medical students and nurses accept the brain death concept(which is accepted only by 60% of non medical university students) but only 44% of the doctors are prepared to switch off the respirator after diagnosis of brain death if harvesting is not taking place. Only half of the physicians would notify the transplantation unit about the possibility of organ retrieval. The reasons mentioned for such decision included fear of negative judgment of the local community and problems with deceased relatives. 60% of physicians talking to the family about retrieval would ask for the relatives' consent despite the fact, that the transplantation law in Poland is based on the presumed consent of each individual. The results of the knowledge survey among medical students documented inadequate medical education concerning problems of transplantation. Educational campaign is needed to promote and extend the cadaveric organ transplantation in our country.