INTRODUCTION: This descriptive study explores the views of resident physicians working in intensive care units (ICUs) concerning deceased organ donation and examines the various ethical issues surrounding organ donation encountered by residents.
METHODS: This was a qualitative, descriptive study utilizing solo interviews with participants together with focus group discussions. The participants' experiences and views were elicited via interviews and focus group discussions covering the following topics: ethical thoughts about deceased organ donation, barriers that impede or prevent organ donation, its effect on the next of kin, and its relationship with futile treatment. The discussions were reviewed using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: The residents commented that deceased organ donation is a complex and stressful process for the family of the potential donor as well as the transplant team, and still lacks wide acceptance in Turkish society. The opt-in system requires informed consent, thus creating a major barrier for both the patients family and the ICU team to overcome. The participants stated that new legal, ethical, and medical arrangements are needed to increase organ donation rates in Turkey.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: In order to increase rates of deceased organ donation and reduce cases of futile treatment, improved communication between the ICU, transplant team, and patient relatives is critical to ensure that ethical issues are properly managed. On a societal level, the subject of deceased organ donation needs to receive greater attention from public health authorities to increase public awareness. Residents can make valuable contributions to the deceased organ donation process as physicians and as psychosocial support for patients and their families.