A significant gap exists between availability of organs for transplant and patients with end-stage organ failure for whom organ transplantation is the last treatment option. Reasons for this mismatch include inadequate approach to potential donor families and donor loss as a result of refractory cardiopulmonary instability during and after brainstem herniation. Other reasons include inadequate cultural competence and sensitivity when communicating with potential donor families. Clinicians may not have an understanding of the cultural and religious perspectives of Muslim families of critically ill patients who may be approached about brain death and organ donation. This review analyzes Islamic cultural and religious perspectives on organ donation, transplantation, and brain death, including faith-based directives from Islamic religious authorities, definitions of death in Islam, and communication strategies when discussing brain death and organ donation with Muslim families. Optimal family care and communication are highlighted using case studies and backgrounds illustrating barriers and approaches with Muslim families in the United States and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that can improve cultural competence and family care as well as increase organ availability within the Muslim population and beyond.
Islam, Brain Death, and Transplantation: Culture, Faith, and Jurisprudence
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Richard Arbour, Hanan Mesfer Saad AlGhamdi, Linda Peters; Islam, Brain Death, and Transplantation: Culture, Faith, and Jurisprudence. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 October 2012; 23 (4): 381–394. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/NCI.0b013e3182683b1e
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