The psycho-social impact of a liver transplant programme


Department of Medical Sociology University of Groningen Ant. Deusinglaan 1 9713 AV Groningen The Netherlands


ABSTRACT— Through in-depth interviews, an inventory has been made of the experiences of 18 liver patients who have been considered for or undergone a liver transplant. Interviews were also held with the patients' relatives. Chronic patients especially seem to regard a transplant as their last chance, and all their hopes become based on it. The strict selection procedure is distressing, and being turned down causes negative feelings. As far as the operation itself is concerned, patients are inclined to create high success rates for themselves in relation to their survival chances and the expectations of quality of life. For some patients a transplant means a marked improvement in the various aspects of their functioning. Others are not so fortunate, but do not give up hope of improvement. From the relatives of the patients who had died post-operatively, no negative feelings were encountered over the ‘failure’ of the ‘technology’