Brain death and organ transplantation: ethical issues among undergraduate medical studentsAlejandro Weber Sánchez1, Pablo Weber Alvarez2
1Department of General Surgery, Hospital Ángeles Lomas, México
2General Physician, Hospital Ángeles Lomas, México
International Medicine 2020; 2(1): 43-49 | DOI: 10.5455/im.67611 PDF
Background: An important limitation to increase organ transplants is the number of organ donors. Education about cadaveric organ donation and its ethical implications to medical undergraduates is probably a key factor to increase organ donation.
Methods: Prospective study among undergraduate medical students in a Mexican university to evaluate ethical attitudes regarding organ donation, particularly related to brain death and some ethical issues regarding the allocation of organs to receptors.
Results: To the question: "Harvest organs for transplantation from patients in a coma", 43.42% answered strongly disagree, 21.87% moderately disagree, 21.39% moderately agree and 13.31% strongly disagree. To the question: "Harvest organs for transplant in patients with irreversible cessation of all brain activity", 23.89% answered strongly disagree, 21.36% moderately disagree, 24.68% moderately agree and 30.06% strongly disagree. To the question "Choose the transplant recipient based on their socio-economic status", 79.43% answered strongly disagree, 7.37% moderately disagree, 7.69% moderately agree and 5.49% strongly agree. Finally, to the question: "Promote organ transplants, through economic incentives", 71.74% strongly disagree, 12.38% moderately disagree, 10.36% moderately agree and 5.23% strongly agree.
Conclusions:Sometimes medical students, particularly during their basic training, don't have clear important factors regarding organ transplant such as profound coma, brain death and organ allocation process, which makes difficult their correct attitude to promote organ donation.
Keywords: ethics, medical education, organ donation, transplant