Challenges in facing organ donation request of the family of brain-dead patients: a qualitative analysis

Document Type : Original Quantitative and Qualitative Research Paper


1 Assistant professor, Department of medical- surgical, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Nursing, Department of Nursing, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor of Nursing, Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background: The sudden nature of confrontation with brain death complicates organ donation request and makes the understanding difficult  for the family. Understanding the experience of these families with inductive approach provides a better understanding of their problems and explains the approaches to help families in this difficult and complex situation.
Aim: To discover mental concerns and challenges in brain-dead patients’ families while confronted with organ donation request
Methods: This qualitative study was conducted with content analysis approach. Data were collected using 24 unstructured, in-depth interviews and 14 supplementary interviews with 14 brain-death patient's families consented to organ donation, as well as 12 families who refused organ donation. Individuals were enrolled in the study using the information obtained from center of organ transplantation of Mashhad University of Medical Science from July 2009 to October 2011. Data analysis was carried out simultaneously as they were collected using content analysis with the conventional approach.
Results: Analysis of the data resulted in 680 codes, 12 categories, and 3 themes. The themes included doubt, fear, and hope, which the “Triangle of decision making purgatorial” was extracted as central theme.
Conclusion: Facing brain death and organ donation request is a complicated process that its acceptance is difficult and decision-making is full of challenges. Therefore, it seems that it is essential to support the family and pay attention to their mental challenges when requesting for organ donation.


Main Subjects

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