Restless feelings: Desiring direct contact after postmortem organ donation
SourceOmega : Journal of Death and Dying, 82, 1, (2020), pp. 62-82
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Omega : Journal of Death and Dying
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies; Radboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
This article investigates the emergence of a growing demand in the Netherlands: the wish of organ donor families and organ recipients to establish contact. Such direct contact transgresses both the anonymity and privacy long considered by many to be fundamental to organ donation. Legislation prescribes that privacy should be safeguarded, but the parties involved increasingly manage to find each other. Research is needed to provide insight into the ramifications of direct contact, which may inform mourning counseling and psychosocial support. Drawing on qualitative interviews with donor's relatives, we analyze the reasons for the desire to have direct contact. We seek to understand how meanings are constructed and contested through organs at the margins of life and death in the individualized and secularized society of the Netherlands. We find that relatives struggle with persistent restless feelings after postmortem organ donation and may develop a level of personal attachment and assign inalienability to human body parts.
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