Get your full text copy in PDF
Patricia A Marshall, Abdallah S Daar
Ann Transplant 1998; 3(2): 7-11
Human organ transplantation is practiced in local cultural worlds that shape beliefs about appropriate conduct for its development and application. The psychological response of individuals to the transplant experience mediate and condition its life-changing force in the context of family and community. In this paper, three casesare examined to illustrate the impact of cultural and psychological influences on human organ replacement therapies. First, we explore brain death and its implications for the definition of death and the procurement of organs.A caseexample from Japanprovides the framework for addressing the cultural foundations that contribute to perceptions of personhood and the treatment of the body. Second, we examine marketing incentives for organ donation using a case from India where, until recently, explicit forms of financial incentives have played a role in the development of renal transplantation involving non-related living donors. Third, we focus on the psychological ramifications of organ transplantation using a casethat demonstrates the profound experience of being the recipient of the "gift of life". Resolution of scientific and ethical challenges in the field of organ transplantation must consider the complex and significant impact of cultural and psychological factors on organ replacement therapies.