Social media and organ donation: Ethically navigating the next frontier

M. L. Henderson, K. A. Clayville, J. S. Fisher, K. K. Kuntz, H. Mysel, T. S. Purnell, R. L. Schaffer, L. A. Sherman, E. P. Willock, E. J. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As the organ shortage continues to grow, the creation of social media communities by transplant hospitals and the public is rapidly expanding to increase the number of living donors. Social media communities are arranged in myriad ways and without standardization, raising concerns about transplant candidates’ and potential donors’ autonomy and quality of care. Social media communities magnify and modify extant ethical issues in deceased and living donation related to privacy, confidentiality, professionalism, and informed consent, and increase the potential for undue influence and coercion for potential donors and transplant candidates. Currently, no national ethical guidelines have been developed in the United States regarding the use of social media to foster organ transplantation. We provide an ethical framework to guide transplant stakeholders in using social media for public and patient communication about transplantation and living donation, and offer recommendations for transplant clinical practice and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2803-2809
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • donors and donation: living
  • ethics and public policy
  • internet
  • organ transplantation
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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