Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation in Ohio
Ohio allows individuals to be donors of organs, tissue, and eyes. If an individual has not already registered as a donor with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles when obtaining or renewing his or her driver’s license, the individual can complete a document called a Donor Registry Form which needs to be filed with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles after it is completed. This document allows an individual to make sure that his or her specific wishes are known concerning organ, tissue, and eye donation upon his or her passing so that there is no confusion for his or her family members.
In Ohio, individuals who are over the age of 15-1/2 can execute a Donor Registry Form. A determination will be made at the time of death whether or not the organs, tissues, and eyes are suitable for donation. In addition, if a minor passes away before age 18, the minor’s parent can make such a decision for the minor and also amend or revoke the decision for the donor between 15 and ½ and 18 years of age. In my practice, people sometimes mention that since they are too old, so they cannot be a donor. However, in Ohio, people of all ages should consider themselves donors. The medical condition of the individual at the time of death will determine whether or not their organs, tissues, and eyes can be donated.
Clients often wonder how the donor process works. Donor organs can be matched to recipients through various federally regulated systems. Decisions are made by a number of factors, such as body size, medical urgency, time on waiting list, geographic location, and blood type. Some individuals are more interested in donating their entire body to a college or university, and that type of donation would take precedence over an organ, tissue, and eye donation. If you desire to donate your entire body, you should make arrangements with the medical school or research facility of your choice prior to your passing. Information on donating your entire body can be found on the websites of medical schools and research facilities.
Clients are also often concerned about various other issues when discussing organ donation. Sometimes individuals are concerned that donating organs can then require that you have a closed casket funeral. However, donation of organs, tissues, or eyes should not interfere with your ability to have an open casket. Another concern is cost. There is no cost to the donor’s family for the donation of organs or tissues.
If you have any desire to be an organ, tissue, or eye donor, you should either make sure that your driver’s license or identification card shows that you are a willing organ donor, or you should execute an Ohio Donor Registry Enrollment Form which you can obtain on the Ohio Bar Association website, www.ohiobar.org, and search for advance directive forms. You can also obtain such a document from your local estate planning attorney as well.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.
James F. Contini II, Esq.
Certified Specialist in Estate Planning,
Trust & Probate Law by the OSBA
Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., LPA
405 Chauncey Avenue NW
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
Phone: (330) 364-3472
Fax: (330) 602-3187