An Ohio man declared brain dead and on life support after a hit-skip crash last week had his organs harvested under court order, following objections from his family.
Lifeline of Ohio, the area's organ procurement agency, sought a court order after the mother of 21-year-old Elijah Smith wrote a letter to them and Grant Medical Hospital saying she did not want her son to be an organ donor.
Pamela Smith said her son was pronounced legally brain dead on July 4. Despite this, she says she never lost hope.
“We would circle around him for prayer and song. We could see responses in Elijah, but they say the only reason he's breathing is because he's hooked up to the ventilator,” said Pamela Smith.
Under Ohio law, nobody other than the donor can amend or revoke an organ donation consent.
Smith's mother wrote that her son did not fully understand the decision he made by registering to be a donor.
For six days, Elijah Smith was hooked up to machines at Grant Medical Center that allowed him to breathe and allowed his blood to flow.
But, it wasn't until this court order, the first of its kind filed by Lifeline of Ohio, that allowed the organ donation process to begin.
Franklin County Judge Guy Reece upheld Elijah Smith's decision to donate his organs upon death.
“And it's a senseless death of a young man, but a man who had made a decision to donate,” said Dorrie Dils of Lifeline of Ohio.
Pamela Smith says she thinks the harvesting process came too soon.
Lifeline says it considers Elijah Smith a 'hero' for helping others.
“Every day in the United States, 18 people die because an organ never came. And it's our obligation, those people who have designated that they want to be donors, that they want to help those 118,000 that we facilitate that gift,” said Dils.
Lifeline of Ohio says it's sad that Smith didn't have an opportunity to have a conversation with his family to explain his decision to be an organ donor.
Lifeline encourages every donor to do that.
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