Narrative Medicine can reduce opposition to organ removal for transplantation


In Italy in 2017 out of 2738 assessments of death, there was a 28.7% of oppositions of family members to the removal of organs post-mortem. This opposition is a serious limitation to the development of transplantation programs. There is a need to increase the number of transplants since transplantation grants the highest quality of life, a longer survival and at a lower cost for the society. We propose the use of Narrative Medicine (MN) to reduce this opposition. “Narrative Medicine – as Charon says – fortifies clinical practice with the narrative competence to recognize, absorb, metabolize, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness”. We have identified eight stories as having a particular echo: 1. That of Nicholas Green, the American child killed on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway and whose organs saved seven people. 2. The story of Ylenia, who learned solidarity from transplants. 3. That of Robin JA Eady, Dermatology Professor in London and the second person on dialysis from Scribner in Seattle. 4. The story of the organ donation of Liberato Venditti, a young man who loved life and climbs on a motorcycle. 5. That of the young football player Giuseppe Feola, remembered here by the Napoli player Gonzalo Higuaín. 6. The donation of the organs of Bruno Memoli, Professor of Nephrology in Naples. 7. The reflections of a heart surgeon. 8. The story written by Federico Finozzi about his own transplant.

“The stories” – as Greenhalgh writes – “have an ethical dimension. The person who reads or hears such a story incurs a duty to act so. Stories are open and subversive”.

Keywords: Narrative Medicine, organ donation, opposition to organ removal, lack of organs for transplantation, narrative organ donation

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.


Giovanni Paolo II nel discorso tenuto ai partecipanti del Primo Congresso Internazionale della Society for Organ Sharing sottolineava che: “Soprattutto, questa forma di trattamento è inseparabile da un atto umano di donazione. In effetti, il trapianto presuppone una decisione anteriore, esplicita, libera e consapevole da parte del donatore o di qualcuno che legittimamente lo rappresenti, di solito i parenti più stretti.  

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