Altruism, incentives, and organ donation: attitudes of the transplant community.
OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the attitudes of the transplant community toward the current policy of altruistic organ donation and 6 alternative policies offering incentives to the donor family. METHODS: Two hundred forty-nine transplant surgeons, 143 transplant coordinators, and 134 critical-care nurses rated the moral appropriateness and success of the current policy of altruistic donation, rated the moral appropriateness of the alternative policies, judged whether donation would increase or decrease under each alternative policy, and decided whether each alternative policy should be put into effect. RESULTS: All 3 professions believed the current policy of altruistic organ donation to be morally appropriate and most of the alternative policies to be morally appropriate or morally neutral. All 3 professions believed the current policy to be at best only moderately successful and judged most or all of the alternative policies to be likely to increase donation. All 3 professions favored implementing a policy offering donor recognition; approximately one half of the surgeons and one half of the coordinators also advocated implementing a policy offering 1500 US dollars toward funeral expenses. In all 3 professions, respondents' decisions to implement the alternative policies were more frequently related to those policies' moral appropriateness than to their likelihood of increasing organ donation. CONCLUSIONS: Specific incentives varied in their acceptability to the transplant community. Attitudes of the transplant community toward incentives were not in accord with published criticisms of incentives.
Jasper, JD; Nickerson, CAE; Ubel, PA; Asch, DA
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