I felt compelled to write after reading "Organ Donation: Talk It Over" (Ethical Problems, January 2007). I agree that education can increase awareness of organ donation. Additionally, when patients' families raise objections, these objections should be addressed with compassion and empathy. Giving the family more information about what will happen to the patient after his death can help to prevent missed opportunities for organ donation.
I speak from experience. Years ago, my husband was struck by a drunk driver and declared brain dead. When organ donation was discussed, his mother objected because she didn't want him to be "cut up." You can imagine our surprise when, after he died, we were told that our state required an autopsy because of the manner of his death. Our objection to organ donation-his being "cut up"-was going to occur anyway. This missed opportunity to donate his organs still haunts me.
Now I'm a nursing student. If I'm confronted with this issue in the future, I'll give my patient's family accurate information, help them work through concerns, and encourage them to honor the wishes of their loved one.
KATHY COLLINS, NURSING STUDENT