Doctors More Likely Than Public to Be Registered Organ Donors

Still, more than half of Canadian physicians are not registered

THURSDAY, July 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians are more likely to register to be organ donors than the general public, according to a research letter published in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alvin Ho-ting Li, from Western University in London, Canada, and colleagues analyzed cross-linked data using a list of active physicians. Demographic information and donor registration status were ascertained. Comparisons were made between 15,233 physicians and 60,932 citizens with similar sociodemographic backgrounds, matched (4:1) to each physician on age, sex, income, and residential neighborhood.

The researchers found that 43.3 percent of physicians were registered, a significantly higher proportion than matched citizens (29.5 percent) or the general public (23.9 percent). At least one organ or tissue was excluded by 11.7 percent of registered physicians, 14.3 percent of matched citizens, and 16.8 percent of the general public. Registered donors among physicians were more likely to be younger; female; living in a rural community; in the physician specialties of emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or psychiatry; and to have graduated from a Canadian (versus foreign) medical school.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to document rates of actual organ donor registration among physicians, rather than expressed support for donation," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the organ procurement or pharmaceutical industries.

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