Community values and preferences in transplantation organ allocation decisions
This paper is concerned with community values and preferences in organ transplantation allocation decisions. With recent trends in organ shortages, transplant teams face difficult allocation decisions amongst increasing numbers of "worthy" potential recipients. It is argued that the debate about these decisions ought to be informed in part by a systematic knowledge of prevailing community standards. A community sample of 238 adults (140 women and 98 men, with a mean age of 47.0 years) completed a questionnaire concerning which factors ought to affect recipient priority for transplantation. Longer waiting time, better prognosis, younger age and being a parent were the most frequently selected criteria for organ allocation decisions. The participants also rank ordered 16 potential recipients presented in the form of case scenarios in terms of priority for transplantation. The 16 case scenarios were constructed from a factorial combination of four variables: age of recipient (young vs old); the time the recipient had been on a waiting list (long vs short); recipient prognosis (excellent vs fair); and parental status (children vs no children). It was found that one case scenario involving a young parent with an excellent prognosis and long waiting time was ranked first by 75.2% of all participants. Analysis revealed that transplant recipient age and prognosis were the most influential factors in determining the priority rankings for organ allocation. The study has demonstrated that judgement and decision analysis procedures can be used to elicit community values and preferences about complex resource allocation decisions.
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Volume (Year): 52 (2001)
Issue (Month): 6 (March)
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