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17 March 2020 : Original article  

Optimizing Organ Donation: Expert Opinion from Austria, Germany, Spain and the U.K.

Fabian Becker12ABCDEF*, Keith J. Roberts3B, Miriam de Nadal4D, Michael Zink5B, Philipp Stiegler6B, Sonja Pemberger7B, Teresa Pont Castellana8B, Christian Kellner6B, Nick Murphy9B, Alexander Kaltenborn2B, Annette Tuffs2BE, Volker Amelung1ABDE, Christian Krauth1ABD, Janice Bayliss10B, Harald H. Schrem6ABCDEF

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.921727

Ann Transplant 2020; 25:e921727


BACKGROUND: Organ donation-rates using deceased donors and organizational approaches to organ donation differ drastically between countries at a similar level of health care as measured by the Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Expert opinions from intensive care nurses, physicians, transplant coordinators and transplant surgeons from Austria, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. were obtained in semi-structured interviews followed by qualitative content analysis. Results were reported back to all interview partners to identify potential controversies and consensus recommendations.

RESULTS: No controversies could be detected. On a variety of beneficial factors an interprofessional consensus between interview partners could be reached: A) The relevance of standardization of the screening for potential donors, the family approach and training; B) standards and best-practice procedures should be regulated and supervised by state authorities; C) full transparency and the prevention of scandals is essential; D) overburdened intensive care unit (ICU) doctors need to be supported by full-time in-house special nurses who organize donor evaluation, transport logistics and pastoral care, if required; E) public awareness campaigns are helpful; F) a broad public consensus on the concept of donation after brain and cardiac death is essential; G) incentives for the reporting of potential organ donors are inappropriate; H) an opt-out system alone is not sufficient.

CONCLUSIONS: Expert opinions from different professional backgrounds from different European health care systems reach a broad consensus on the most relevant issues for the improvement of organ donation.

Keywords: Delivery of Health Care, Expert Testimony, Qualitative Research, Tissue and Organ Procurement, Austria, Germany, Organ Transplantation, Spain, Tissue Donors, United Kingdom

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