People’s decision to become an organ donor is largely influenced by their religious beliefs. Different religions have different views on the subject. It involves social, legal, and ethical questions, which each religion approach in different ways. In this regard, this research aims to answer the questions of how religion influences a person’s decision to become an organ donor and how serious a concern this is.
These questions are important because of the organ shortage crisis that the world is experiencing. There has been an increase in the demand for organ transplantation throughout the world because of the increase in the incidence of vital organ failures, as well as the increasing success and the greater improvement in the outcomes of these transplants (Abouna, 2007). However, there is a shortage in the number of organs that are available for transplant. As a result, the number of people on the waiting lists is increasing, as well as the number of people who die while on the waiting list (Abouna, 2007). For example, the number of US patients in the waiting list in 2006 has reached 95,000 while the number of deaths during the waiting was 6,300 (Abouna, 2007). In turn, this organ shortage crisis has deprived many patients of an improved quality of life and has led to increased healthcare costs from alternative medical treatments such as dialysis. In this regard, this research has the following aims and objectives:
Abrahamic religion – “Of or relating to any of the faiths traditionally held to descend from the biblical patriarch Abraham, especially Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” (“Abrahamic,” 2015)
Christianity – the Christian religion, which includes the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic churches (“Christianity,” 2015)
Islam – The religion of Muslims, which is based on the words of the prophet Mohammad and those written in the Koran (“Islam,” 2015)
Judaism – “the monotheistic religion of the Jews,” which has its legal, ceremonial, and ethical foundation on the teachings of the Old Testament, as well as in the commentaries and teachings of the rabbis that are mainly found in the Talmud (“Judaism,” 015).
Organ – “a grouping of tissues into a distinct structure, as a heart or kidney in animals or a leaf or stamen in plants, that performs a specialized task” (“Organ,” 2015).
Organ donor – An animal or a person who provides bone marrow cells, an organ, blood, or other biological tissue for transplantation or transfusion (“Donor,” 2015)
Religion – A set of beliefs that concern the purpose, nature, and cause of the universe, “especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs” (“Religion,” 2015).
According to Bruzzone (2008), there is no religion that formally forbids the receipt or donation of organs or that is against the transplantation of organs from deceased or living donors. Oliver, Ahmed and Woywodt (2012) agree that most religions encourage organ donation. However, they assert that some are still skeptical about it (Oliver et al., 2012). Oliver, Woywodt, Ahmed et al. (2010) also assert that religious concerns play a major role in patients’ decision to undergo or decline a transplant. As such, they stress that healthcare professionals should be knowledgeable of these religious beliefs in order to be able to properly address the patients’ concerns (Oliver et al., 2010). They also believe that more awareness of these concerns within the transplant community will enable more open discussions with the patients (Oliver et al., 2012)
The two research methods that will be used for this research are the interview and the survey methods.
The interview method is a qualitative method that will enable the researcher to obtain answers to how or why questions. There will be two populations involved in this method, namely the transplant surgeons and the organ donors. For the transplant surgeons, the research sub-questions would include the following:
How does the patient’s religion influence their decision on whether to become an organ donor or not?
How does the patient communicate such conflict to them?
How do they address these patients’ concerns?
For the organ donors, the research sub-questions would include the following:
How do their religious beliefs influence their decision with regards to organ donation?
How do they expect their doctor to help them address their concerns?
On the other hand, the survey method is a quantitative method that will enable the
researcher to gauge the prevalence of religious concerns in the patients’ decision to become an organ donor. In turn, this will enable them to gauge the seriousness of the problem and will enable them to inform policy makers and healthcare institutions on how they can best address the problem.
The two populations for the survey will be the healthcare institutions and the organ donors. For the healthcare institutions, the research sub-question would be the following: What is the rate of organ donation in their institution? How much does religion play into the organ donors’ decision to donate an organ? On the other hand, for the organ donors, the research sub-question would, be: To what extent does their religion influence their decision to donate an organ?
Abrahamic. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Abrahamic+religion.
Abouna, G. M. (2008, January-February). Organ shortage crisis: problems and possible
solutions. Transplantation Proceedings, 40(:34-38. doi:
Bruzzone, P. (2008, May). Religious aspects of organ transplantation. Transplantation
Proceedings, 40(4), 1064-1067. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.03.049
Christianity. (2015). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Christianity.
Donor. (2015). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/organ+donor.
Islam. (2015). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Islam.
Judaism. (2015). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Judaism.
Oliver, M., Ahmed, A. & Woywodt. (2012, October 24). Donating in good faith or getting into
trouble Religion and organ donation revisited. World Journal of Transplantation, 2(5),
Oliver, M., Woywodt, A., Ah med, A. & Saif, I. (2010). Organ donation, transplantation and
religion. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfq628.
Organ. (2015). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/organ.
Religion. (2015). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion.