Beyond the Billboard: The Facebook-Based Application, Donor, and Its Guided Approach to Facilitating Living Organ Donation

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Abstract

Living donor solicitation can raise ethical concerns, regardless of the medium used: newspaper, television, pulpit, billboard or Internet. Moving the search for a living donor into the social media realm introduces the risk of unguided and coercive patient narratives as well as decoupling or even total absence of information that could aid the consent process. The Facebook application (app) for living donors, called Donor (restricted to patient use), aims to address these concerns in several ways: (i) by directing the patient's initial appeal to friends and family; (ii) by guiding the patient's narrative; and (iii) by providing a library of clinical, ethical and regulatory information that informs the consent process. In this paper, we explored these features and contrasted them with billboard solicitation activities and current independent social media efforts. We concluded that the proactive ethical design of the Donor app is a permissible way to help satisfy the shortfall of deceased donor livers and kidneys.

This article presents an ethical analysis of the use of a smartphone app that helps patients find living donors.

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