Family veto in organ donation in Canada: framing within English-language newspaper articles.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Because organ transplantation relies on public support for donation, an analysis of public discourse around organ donation is essential. We investigated the portrayal of family veto - when a family overrides the deceased person's prior legally executed wishes to donate - in Canadian news media. METHODS:Using the Canadian Newsstream database, we identified articles published in English-language newspapers addressing family veto between 2000 and 2016. Guided by the theoretical perspectives of framing of media effects, we conducted a systematic content analysis of the articles to examine how the Canadian media framed family veto. An initial in-depth analysis of the data set in which themes and patterns were captured and recorded identified coding categories, including primary framing of family veto, prevalence, reasons, ethical or legal concerns and overall tone of the article. Two coders analyzed the data set to ensure intercoder reliability. RESULTS:A total of 133 relevant articles were identified. Family veto was framed predominantly as something that should not be allowed (81 articles [60.9%]) and as a reality that is little understood outside the transplantation community (45 [33.8%]). One-quarter of the articles (32 [24.1%]) highlighted ethical principles of autonomy and justice associated with family veto. Family veto was represented as a stumbling block in the present organ donation system, with most publications (107 [80.4%]) calling for change. There were differing interpretations of organ donation legislation, with 82 articles (61.6%) erroneously stating or suggesting that existing legislation permits family veto. INTERPRETATION:Family veto in organ donation was portrayed predominantly negatively. Many publications reflected a misunderstanding of the law concerning this issue. Although the framing of family veto highlighted important ethical and legal concerns as well as practice and policy considerations, research is needed to enhance the understanding of family veto in organ donation.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC5741414 | BioStudies |