Journal List > J Korean Soc Transplant > v.29(1) > 1034471

Lee, Won, Na, and Jae: Medical Expenses of the Family Members of Brain Dead Organ Donors and National Assistance



Analyzing the medical expenses of the family members of brain dead organ donors would be helpful in ascertaining better ways of applying national assistance, which is important for promotion of brain dead organ donation.


We collected data regarding the medical expenses of 119 brain dead organ donors from January 2009 to December 2013 at a single institution that specializes in organ donation. Donation year, cause of brain death, age, and admission days were deemed factors affecting medical expenses, and these were analyzed. Medical expenses were compared with national assistance (maximum of 1.8 million Korean won [KRW]).


Average age of donors was 42.7 years, and, in the older age group, there was a lower average for medical expenses (P=0.025). Brain dead organ donations that were consented to within 2 days after the brain death comprised 41.2%, and medical expenses increased as the consent days were delayed (P<0.001). Average medical expense for donor families was 2,161,297 KRW, and the average national assistance to the families was 577,056 KRW. The medical expenses of 73 donors (61.3%) were below the national assistance maximum; 19 (16.0%) had no charges of their own with other insurance coverage.


National assistance for medical expenses to family members of brain dead organ donors is necessary in Korea, where the rate of brain dead organ donation is very low. As 61% of donors were covered below the maximum assistance amount, there could be additional ways to utilize the remaining budget.


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Fig. 1.
Patients’ medical expense and organ donation year. Abbreviation: KRW, Korean won.
Fig. 2.
Patients’ medical expenses trend. Abbreviation: KRW, Korean won.
Table 1.
Average patient medical expense compared among groups according to age, cause of brain death, and admission days
Group No. Average patients’ medical expenses (KRW) (minimum∼ maximum) P-value
Age (yr)      
  0∼19 10 4,180,246 (0∼12,894,366) 0.025
  20∼39 31 2,210,958 (0∼10,844,435)  
  40∼59 62 2,129,734 (0∼10,055,965)  
  ≥60 16 925,540 (0∼3,167,717)  
Cause of brain death      
  Cereberovascular disease 59 1,582,569 (0∼10,055,965) 0.249
  Head trauma 24 2,226,896 (0∼10,844,435)  
  Suicide 14 2,630,320 (0∼6,920,168)  
  Anoxia 10 3,083,455 (0∼15,894,366)  
Admission days      
  0∼2 (day) 49 1,506,396 (0∼10,844,435) 0.001
  3∼7 (day) 34 1,685,147 (0∼5,960,720)  
  1∼2 (wk) 26 2,797,851 (0∼8,361,168)  
  2∼4 (wk) 7 4,711,877 (0∼10,055,965)  

Abbreviation: KRW, Korean won.

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