+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ PDF Full Text
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Experiences of families when a relative is diagnosed brain stem dead: understanding of death, observation of brain stem death testing and attitudes to organ donation

Experiences of families when a relative is diagnosed brain stem dead: understanding of death, observation of brain stem death testing and attitudes to organ donation

Anaesthesia 60(10): 1002-1008

Brain stem death may be a difficult concept for relatives to understand. Our ITU practice follows published recommendations that the use of explanatory leaflets showing CT scans and observing brain stem death testing in some cases may help relatives to understand that death has occurred. Using this strategy, we interviewed 27 relatives 12 months after bereavement following certification by brain stem testing, investigating their understanding of brain stem death, subsequent attitudes to organ donation, grief reactions and attitudes of those who had observed the tests. Most relatives understood that the brain stem death tests indicated that survival was not possible, although three relatives had not fully understood this and valued the opportunity to discuss it again. Only five relatives observed the tests, all were pleased that they had done so as this had confirmed their understanding that death had occurred; however, these relatives had more evidence of psychological distress. No relatives who agreed to organ donation regretted this but three who did not allow donation subsequently expressed regret. Several relatives thought that observing the tests would have helped them to understand that death had occurred, making easier the decision to allow organ donation.

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 049022153

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16179046

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2005.04297.x

Related references

Inflammatory signalling associated with brain dead organ donation: from brain injury to brain stem death and posttransplant ischaemia reperfusion injury. Journal of Transplantation 2013: 521369-521369, 2013

First prospective study on brain stem death and attitudes toward organ donation in India. Liver Transplantation 15(11): 1443-1447, 2010

A survey of families of brain dead patients: their experiences, attitudes to organ donation and transplantation. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care 23(1): 88-95, 1995

Knowledge and attitudes of nurses on a regional neurological intensive therapy unit towards brain stem death and organ donation. Nursing in Critical Care 2(2): 64-71, 1997

Exploring families' experiences of an organ donation request after brain death. Nursing Ethics 19(5): 654-665, 2013

Experiences of the families concerning organ donation of a family member with brain death. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research 19(3): 323-330, 2014

Brain stem death and organ donation. BMJ 299(6706): 1009-1010, 1989

Organ donation. 3. Brain stem death. British Journal of Perioperative Nursing 10(1): 24-29, 2000

Brain stem death and organ donation. Current Anaesthesia & Critical Care 9(5): 236-241, 1998

Brain stem death and organ donation--11 years on. British Journal of Anaesthesia 91(4): 577-579, 2003

Ethical dilemma: Discontinuation of ventilation after brain stem death To whom is our duty of care? Policy should be balanced with concern for the family Brain stem death defines death in law. BMJ 318(7200): 1753-1755, 1999

Organ donation following brain stem death after ventricular assist device implantation. Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals 22(3): 345-346, 2014

Changing Patterns of Organ Donation: Brain Dead Donors Are Not Being Lost by Donation After Circulatory Death. Transplantation 100(2): 446-450, 2016

Neurological problems in the diagnosis of brain death--observation of spinally-mediated movements in brain-dead patients and proposal of a "brain death judging doctor" system. Rinsho Shinkeigaku 33(12): 1325-1327, 1993

ABC of brain stem death. Prognostic significance of a dead brain stem. British Medical Journal 286(6359): 123-124, 1983