Family members are sometimes unable to carry out their relatives wish to donate organs when they die, because of conflicting feelings between making a gift of life and protecting the body of the deceased, according to research in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Researchers from the University of Southampton, UK, spoke to 26 people who had decided not to let their relatives bodies be used for organ donations about their views and experiences. The 23 relatives who died ranged from a five-week old baby, who had died of a lung condition, to an 82 year-old man, who died following a stroke.
Family members who spoke to us were recruited using advertisements in 12 local newspapers, four national newspapers and four hospital intensive care units, explains lead researcher Dr Magi Sque from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University.
Face-to-face interviews were carried out with eight parents, ten spouses or partners, two sons, five daughters and one sister.
An unexpected finding of the study was how many of the study participants and deceased relatives held pro-donation views.
Despite this, the decision to not donate was still taken, says Dr Sque.
Twelve family members said they were normally positive about organ donation and nine reported that their relative had indicated that they wanted to be an organ donor. Five said they had mixed feelings about organ donation or knew that their deceased relative didnt want to be a donor.
In six cases, both the relative and the person who died shared the same positive view about donation, yet it still didnt take place.
The most commonly reported reason for declining organ donations was because the family member felt the need to protect the body of the deceased. Fifteen participants told the researchers that they didnt want to relinquish guardianship of the body - they wanted to keep it intact and didnt want it to be interfered with.<
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