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08 November 2013 : Original article  

Preliminary report from a prison survey: Should prisoners be considered as organ donors?

Adam DurczyńskiB, Małgorzata PietrzakB, Janusz StrzelczykB

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.889634

Ann Transplant 2013; 18:604-608


BACKGROUND: Opinions on letting prisoners donate organs appear increasingly. The aim of this preliminary study was to evaluate attitudes toward transplantation among inmates from a single prison in Poland.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We administered a questionnaire consisting of 14 open queries about the knowledge, attitude, and personal views on organ donation to 100 male prisoners from the Second Penitentiary in Lodz, Poland. Completion of the form was anonymous and self-directed under supervision of the interviewer.

RESULTS: Transplantation as a treatment option was understood by 90% of inmates. Prisoners’ main sources of information on transplantology were newspapers and television (54%). The majority of prisoners (92%) were positive about transplantation; a smaller number of inmates (72%) knew about transplantation-related legal regulations in Poland. The terms “Central Register of Refusals” and “presumed consent” were understood by 63% and 61%, respectively, of the surveyed group. Most (77%) respondents knew that brain death is irreversible and 68% accepted these circumstances for donation of organs. The majority of inmates (74%) were fairly positive about donating their own organs and 60% said they would agree to donate an organ from a deceased family member. Prisoners rarely discussed transplantation issues (37%) with family members. The vast majority of prisoners (82%) said they trusted the medical and transplant communities.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that surveyed prisoners have a basic understanding about transplantation. The majority of respondents were in favor of organ donation and willing to donate their own organs. However, further studies to evaluate opinions on organ transplantation with larger groups of inmates are needed to help set new boundaries for prisoner organ donations.

Keywords: Transplantation, Organ donors, Prisoners

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358