Assessment of resident and fellow knowledge of the organ donor referral process


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Abstract

Maximizing deceased donation rates can decrease the organ shortage. Non-transplant physicians play a critical role in facilitating conversion of potential deceased donors to actual donors, but studies suggest that physicians lack knowledge about the organ donation process. As residency and fellowship are often the last opportunities for formal medical training, we hypothesized that deficiencies in knowledge might originate in residency and fellowship. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to assess knowledge about organ donation, experience in donor conversion, and opinions of the process among residents and fellows after their intensive care unit rotations at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Of 40 participants, 50% had previously facilitated donor conversion, 25% were familiar with the guidelines of the organ procurement organization (OPO), and 10% had received formal instruction from the OPO. The median score on the knowledge assessment was five of 10; higher knowledge score was not associated with level of medical training, prior training in or experience with donor conversion, or with favorable opinions about the OPO. We identified a pervasive deficit in knowledge among residents and fellows at an academic medical center with an active transplant program that may help explain attending-level deficits in knowledge about the organ donation process.

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