Case Study 2

Case Study 2A 68 year-old nisei or second generation Japanese-American man who was well and independent, and whose only chronic medical condition was eczema, was involved in an automobile accident. He was Buddhist. At the hospital, he was declared brain dead. His acculturated adult children who had all converted to Christianity offered to donate his organs if it could help anyone. This Japanese-American man did not have any formal advance directives.

While on life support, this Japanese man’s brother and sister flew in from Japan and were furious and appalled when they heard that he had been volunteered to become an organ donor. They claimed that he would not have wanted to be an organ donor were he able to express his wishes. They could not understand why he was declared “brain dead” if his heart was still beating, his skin color looked well and his body was still warm. They could not understand how their brother could be “brain dead” and still be alive. They subtly accused his adult children of planning to “take his life.” A terrible rift was created in a previously close-knit family.

Topics for Discussion

Topics for Discussion

1. Religion and end-of-life issues including organ donation.

2. Level of Acculturation.

3. Family conflicts and communication issues.