Family Veto in Organ Donation in Canada: Framing within English-language Newspaper Article

CMAJ Open 2017. DOI:10.9778/cmajo.20170051

U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2018-53

Reprinted from (Samantha J. Anthony, Maeghan Toews,Timothy Caulfield,Linda Wright) Article: Family veto in organ donation in Canada: framing within English-language newspaper articles. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ OPEN, 5(4), 768-772). © Canadian Medical Association (2017).

6 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2018 Last revised: 5 Nov 2018

See all articles by Samantha J. Anthony

Samantha J. Anthony

Independent

Maeghan Toews

Independent

Timothy Caulfield

University of Alberta - Health Law Institute

Linda Wright

Dept. of Surgery and Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics

Date Written: September 25, 2018

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.

Reprinted from (Samantha J. Anthony, Maeghan Toews,Timothy Caulfield,Linda Wright) Article: Family veto in organ donation in Canada: framing within English-language newspaper articles. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ OPEN, 5(4), 768-772). © Canadian Medical Association (2017). This work is protected by copyright and the making of this copy was with the permission of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (www.cmaj.ca) and Access Copyright. Any alteration of its content or further copying in any form whatsoever is strictly prohibited unless otherwise permitted by law.

Keywords: Family veto in organ donation, Organ donation, Canada Organ donation

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Anthony, Samantha J. and Toews, Maeghan and Caulfield, Timothy and Wright, Linda, Family Veto in Organ Donation in Canada: Framing within English-language Newspaper Article (September 25, 2018). CMAJ Open 2017. DOI:10.9778/cmajo.20170051; U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2018-53; Reprinted from (Samantha J. Anthony, Maeghan Toews,Timothy Caulfield,Linda Wright) Article: Family veto in organ donation in Canada: framing within English-language newspaper articles. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ OPEN, 5(4), 768-772). © Canadian Medical Association (2017). . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254681

Samantha J. Anthony (Contact Author)

Independent

No Address Available

Maeghan Toews

Independent

No Address Available

Timothy Caulfield

University of Alberta - Health Law Institute ( email )

Law Centre
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H5
Canada

Linda Wright

Dept. of Surgery and Member, Joint Centre for Bioethics

155 College Street
Suite 754
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1P8
Canada

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