Donation after cardiac death (DCD) offers an alternative pathway to donation for some donors. Successful recovery of organs for transplantation following DCD requires that organ recovery surgery commence as soon as possible after death has occurred. This limits the amount of time that family and friends can spend with the donor prior to surgery. The aim of this study was to identify community views about the timing of organ recovery in DCD. Data were collected from two sources in South Australia: 32 members of the public participated in four focus groups, and 2693 adults participated in a representative population survey. Respondents were asked their views about a decent interval to wait after death prior to organ recovery surgery. Focus group participants identified a tension between preserving organ viability and allowing families time with the deceased. Of the survey respondents, 45.2% selected a timeframe compatible with potentially viable donations; 34.1% selected a timeframe incompatible with viable donations; and 20.8% gave an indeterminate answer. These findings provide information about public perceptions of DCD, can be used to inform educational campaigns about DCD and serve as a baseline for evaluating such campaigns, and identify a number of areas for further investigation.
- Non-heart-beating donors
- Organ recovery