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A man in Columbus, Ohio donated his organs this week after he was hit by a vehicle while he was riding his bike home from work. He was 21 years old and checked the “organ donor” box on his driver’s license.

Under Ohio law, only the donor may revoke the choice to make an anatomical gift. The parents of the young man in Columbus attempted to keep him on a ventilator even though all of his brain functions had stopped working and would never work again. The probate court issued an order that he had made the decision to donate his organs and the ventilator was to be removed and organ donation made. It is very rare for a legal case to arise trying to prohibit anatomical gifts. The donation of organs in the news this week provides a time to reflect on how anatomical gifts are made and how many lives may be saved.

Many people want to be organ donors, but very few meet the criteria which include a fatal head injury while being on a ventilator. In order to donate organs (heart, kidneys, lung, liver, pancreas, intestines), the organs need to continue receiving oxygen. Therefore, a donor that is on a ventilator before or at the time of brain death may donate organs. An organ donor may save the lives of up to 8 people.

If a donor does not meet the requirements of organ donation, the donor may still make a tissue donation. Tissue includes heart valves, blood vessels, connective tissues, skin, bones, and eyes. A tissue donor may save the lives of up to 50 people.

Currently, there are over 116,000 people in America needing an organ donation to save their lives. Additionally, there are a million other people in America that need a tissue donation to treat a condition.

In Ohio, an anatomical gift may be made in the following ways:

  • Online at at
  • At the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when getting or renewing a driver’s license.
  • In writing by printing and mailing this form:
  • In writing by preparing a Donor Registry Form with your living will.