The Experiences of Family Members of Non-Organ Donors on the Crisis Rising From Patients’ Brain Death


1 1Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, IR Iran

2 2Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, IR Iran


Background Brain death crisis as an overwhelming situation can create a critical state for families in which they are unable to make logical decisions for their patients with brain death. Objectives This study aimed to explore the experiences of family members of patients with brain death, who did not donate their patients’ organs. Methods A qualitative study was conducted on nine non-donor family members of patients with brain death, selected using the purposeful sampling method. To collect data, deep unstructured interviews were held to reach data saturation. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed utilizing the phenomenology approach based on the seven-step Colaizzi’s method. Results The participants of this study explained their situation as ‘an overwhelming situation in families due to patients’ brain death’. Also, the data analysis led to the development of four main themes as follow: ‘overwhelming situation’, ‘perplexity factors’, ‘the sling loops of defect in consent for organ donation’, and ‘compatibility’. Conclusions The overwhelming effects of the patients’ brain death on the family members and the crisis rising from it influenced the decisions made by family members for organ donation. Therefore, some measures should be taken to cultivate appropriate adaptive behaviors among family members for relieving their sorrow and pain. Moreover, healthcare team members should be informed of the crisis raised from patient’s brain death and help family members make logical decisions with regards to organ donation.