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Family Veto in Organ Donation in Canada: Framing Within English-Language Newspaper Articles

Canadians can communicate their wish to be an organ donor by documenting it in writing.In some jurisdictions, one can also join a donor registry. Although this authorization is legally sufficient for organ procurement after death, it is common practice to seek agreement from the person’s next-of-kin before donation proceeds.

When a family member of a person who has given legal consent to donate decides against donation, this is referred to as family veto. The veto represents a conflict between respect for the deceased person’s previously expressed wishes and those of the family. How family veto is framed in the media can affect public discourse on organ donation.

The aim of our research was to investigate the portrayal of family veto in organ donation in Canadian newspapers and identify the major frames surrounding family veto that have featured most prominently in discourse in the print media.

Article made accessible by CMAJ OPEN. Read the full report here:

Authors: Samantha J. Anthony, PhD, MSW, Maeghan Toews, LLM, Timothy Caulfield, LLM, Linda Wright, MHSc, MSW

Affiliations: Canadian National Transplant Research Program (Anthony, Toews, Caulfield, Wright); The Hospital for Sick Children (Anthony), Toronto, Ont.; Adelaide Law School (Toews), University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia; Health Law Institute (Caulfield), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.; Department of Surgery (Wright), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.