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J Korean Acad Nurs. 1998 Mar;28(1):26-36. Korean. Original Article.
Han SS , Hwang KS , Meng KH , Lee DI , Um YR .
College of Nursing, Catholic University, Korea.
Department of Philosophy, Seoul National University, Korea.
College of Medicine, Catholic University, Korea.
College of Theology, Catholic University, Korea.
Department of Nursing, Soonchunhyang University, Korea.

This primary study was done to develop an ethical guideline for organ transplantation, a life-saving treatment which helps improve the quality of life. This study tried to identify the current situation in Korea, in terms of ethical considerations in organ transplantations. This study collected basic data in organ transplantations, in the hope that procedure of organ transplantations could be developed that would be fair to both organ donors and recipients. The immediate goals of this study were : 1)to identify staff in charge of organ transplantations and their jobs in the hospital, 2) to survey whether there exists a Hospital Ethics Committee(HEC), 3) to research what consideration are formally taken in selecting recipients, and 4) to accumulate data on how consent from donors are currently obtained. The study used a survey questionnaire and received responses from 31 hospitals out of 45 hospitals where organ transplantation are being done. Organ transplantation coordinators were found in 16 hospitals, but the job description varied among hospitals. The survey showed that all 16 hospitals with and HEC that health care personnel unnecessarily dominate the committee. The study notes that HECs should be vitalized by recruiting, as members, ethicists, theologians, patients, guardians, as well as the general public outside of the hospital. The study revealed that in selecting recipients the hospital take into account ABO blood type, histocompatibility, age, waiting time, and level of patient compliance. Finally, it was shown that in the cases of living donors the transplanting hospitals seek a formal consent, whereas there are no common consenting practice established for cadaveric donors. The study concludes with three proposals. First, a nationwide institution responsible exclusively for procurement and distribution of cadaveric organs for transplantation should be established. Second, we should rebuild the national health insurance system so that have costly organ transplantation expenses are substantially covered. Last, but certainly not least, there is a need to emphasize the HEC's committment to prepare a proper ethical guideline for organ transplantation in general.

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