As a recent real life drama
illustrates, the lines can get blurry when it comes to the subject of organ
donations. Consider a recent example of this that played out in Ohio.
As reported in The Columbus Dispatch in an article
titled “Family loses fight to keep son’s organs from
Elijah was a young man who was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. As a result,
he suffered very serious injuries and was later pronounced brain dead.
But that was not the end of it.
You see, Elijah identified
himself as an organ and tissue donor by simply checking a box when he applied for his driver’s license. He had no idea of the implications of what he had done. In Elijah's case, this simple act trumped the will of his family.
Elijah’s family fought because
they felt it was not in his best interests. The family even fought against the
organ-donor charity for whom Elijah’s organs were maintained until a
court-order made the final call and completed the organ donation. This was the
first time this particular organ-donation company has gone to court and it was
a relative rarity in the nation overall.
As this case clearly
demonstrates, serious thought and communication are required when planning all
aspects of your life and estate. When it comes to organ donation considerations,
ensure that your loved ones know and understand your wishes. The consequences
of “checking the box” on your driver’s license application are not to be taken
lightly. To be clear, you have the final say over what happens to your organs and your body when you die, if you take the time to make your wishes known. However, the full impact of your wishes may not be known until you can no longer speak for yourself. For your family's sake, it would be best to let them know your wishes beforehand, and you should carefully reflect before checking a box that will deprive them of the right to have a say in what happens with your medical care and the disposition of your remains.
Proper life and estate planning
is not something to delay until old age. The decisions you make, or fail to
make, affect you and your family at every age.