PURPOSE- Primary care physicians might play an important role in the acceptance of organ donation in the population. This would require both a positive attitude and a good basic knowledge about the organ donation and transplantation process. Studies on this subject are very limited however. The objectives of this study are to determine the knowledge and attitude of the family physician towards organ donation and transplantation in Flanders. METHODS- 327 Flemish primary care physicians completed an electronic questionnaire, comprising 5 sections: demographic factors, knowledge, education, attitude and potential role in the donation process. RESULTS- 87% of the Flemish primary care physicians agree with the implementation of heart-beating organ donation. 94% would agree to donate the organs of their own child. 80% know that even without explicit consent the prelevation of the organs and tissues of each potential Belgian donor will take place. Although they are aware of the current legislation, their knowledge regarding donor criteria showed significant gaps. A minority of the primary care physicians know that donors can be little brain-dead children (53%) or elderly above 70 years (45%). Only 61% of the primary care physicians know that brain dead is associated with irreversible damage to the brain and only 28% know that more than one physician is involved in making the diagnosis. A majority (91%) is willing to play a role in the organ donation and transplantation process. But about two-thirds (61%) of them doubt their ability to answer questions of patients on this subject. 82.5% of this group would find it useful to participate in a specific training. When they are offered different choices to play a role in the process, the most accepted (84%) one is informing the transplant centre about the donor's medical history and risk behaviour. CONCLUSIONS- The Flemish primary care physician has a positive attitude towards organ donation and transplantation. He is willing to play a role in the organ donation and transplantation process. However, our study clearly documents deficits in the knowledge about brain death and the need for postgraduate training in the field of organ donation and transplantation. Correcting these deficits may be an important factor in improving the acceptance of organ donation.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Coucke L, Snoeck E, De J, Haentjens I, Peersman W, Rogiers X. Knowledge and Attitude of the Flemish Primary Care Physician towards Organ Donation and Transplantation [abstract]. Am J Transplant. 2013; 13 (suppl 5). http://atcmeetingabstracts.com/abstract/knowledge-and-attitude-of-the-flemish-primary-care-physician-towards-organ-donation-and-transplantation/. Accessed January 16, 2018.
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