A post-transplant person : narratives of heart or lung transplantation and intensive care unit delirium

Flynn, Katy and Daiches, Anna and Malpus, Zoey and Sanchez, Melissa and Yonan, Nizar (2014) A post-transplant person : narratives of heart or lung transplantation and intensive care unit delirium. Journal of Family Psychology, 18 (4). pp. 352-368. ISSN 0893-3200

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Exploring patients' narratives can lead to new understandings about perceived illness states. Intensive Care Unit delirium is when people experience transitory hallucinations, delusions or paranoia in the Intensive Care Unit and little is known about how this experience affects individuals who have had a heart or lung transplant. A total of 11 participants were recruited from two heart and lung transplant services and were invited to tell their story of transplant and Intensive Care Unit delirium. A narrative analysis was conducted and the findings were presented as a shared story. This shared story begins with death becoming prominent before the transplant: 'you live all the time with Mr Death on your shoulder'. Following the operation, death permeates all aspects of dream worlds, as dreams in intensive care 'tunes into the subconscious of your fears'. The next part of the shared story offers hope of restitution; however, this does not last as reality creeps in: 'I thought it was going to be like a miracle cure'. Finally, the restitution narrative is found to be insufficient and individuals differ in the extent to which they can achieve resolution. The societal discourse of a transplant being a 'gift', which gives life, leads to internalised responsibility for the 'success' or 'failure' of the transplant. Participants describe how their experiences impact their sense of self: 'a post-transplant person'. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Family Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? death dying and bereavementexperiencing illness and narrativesmental health narrative analysispsychology(all) ??
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Deposited On:
11 Dec 2013 09:00
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:19