JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The mother of a 16-year-old boy that Jacksonville Beach police say jumped from a moving school bus on Friday morning said his organs are being harvested and donated on Monday.
Jessie Herr's mother said she was told Friday afternoon that his brain stem snapped from the fall. While he remained on life support at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, there was no brain activity.
Ann-Marie Herr told Channel 4 she does not know why her son, a student at Grand Park Education Center, jumped from the bus. She said the family may have a statement later, but now they were working on making funeral arrangements.
IMAGES: Student jumped from school bus
Those who work with organ donations said the decision by the grieving Herr family could save up to eight lives.
Amy Reese, with the nonprofit group LifeQuest, can't talk about this specific case, but did provide some insight into the process of organ donation.
"There's cardiac dead and there's brain dead," Reese said. "Most of our cases involving young people are brain dead."
Because usually the body is being kept alive with machines, Reese said it takes two doctors to declare a patient brain dead and relatives are given a choice of how to proceed.
For anyone younger than 18, the parents or guardians will make the final decision on organ donation, even if the person is registered as a donor.
"They're at the worst day of their life. They just learned a loved one's not coming home with them. If they can make a decision or fulfill that person's decision, they can impact other people in their own community," Reese said.
At that point, a team of doctors and nurses will keep the person's body on a ventilator to preserve the organs and tissue and evaluate if the donation can actually take place.
If you'd like to sign up to be an organ donor or learn more about the process, visit donatelifeflorida.org.
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