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Living Liver Donors tend to altruism and high risk tolerance

Organ Transplantation: Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Aspects

Mary Ellen Olbrisch and colleagues (Virginia Commonwealth University/USA) evaluated 150 persons seeking to become adult-to-adult living liver donors. Most donor candidates had at least completed high school (90,5%), 65% had signed an organ donor card, 78% had been blood donors, , 64% had been involved in some volunteer activities.

The risk tolerance was high: Candidates expressed willingness to accept a risk of death of 90% (spouse), 75% (1st degree relative), 70% (In-law/step-relation), 50% (other relative or friend). "Almost all donor candidates report being willing to assume more risk than physicians would be comfortable in allowing them to assume.

However, these numbers come from individuals who generally are not used to sophisticated statistical thinking or often consider statistics to be irrelevant or not applicable to them personally. Unrelated donors appear to exhibit healthier behaviors and to have stronger histories of volunteerism than related donors, suggesting that related donors may come forward more from a sense of obligation, family loyalty, or even  guilt and subtle coercion."

Organ Transplantation: Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Aspects.
Towards a Common European Policy
Weimar, W.; Bos, M.A.; Busschbach, J.J. (Eds.)
Pabst 2008, 584 pages