With One App, You Can Save Eight Lives

By Alicia Young July 06, 2016

Each time there is a new Apple iOS update, people flock to the ‘Settings’ page to see what new features have been added to the ever-improving iPhone. While past updates have introduced things like more emojis, night mode and Siri, iOS 10 is going to offer something a bit more unique. This fall, iPhone users will be able to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor right from the Health app. The option to become a donor will be offered in the app and displayed on the user’s medical ID, which is accessible from the app or emergency screen.

For most, the question of becoming an organ donor is only raised once every few years when you have to renew your driver’s license. Apple, who is teamed up with Donate Life America, hopes that making registration so easily accessible will cause the overall number of donors to increase.

So, why is this update such a big deal? David Fleming, president & CEO of Donate Life America, answered that question by saying, “On average, one person dies every hour in the United States waiting for an organ transplant because the demand for lifesaving transplants far exceeds the available supply of organs — and one donor can save as many as eight lives.”

It is truly mindblowing to think that one person can save eight lives, and that despite those eight people being saved, there is still one death each hour in the U.S. due to a lack of donors.

Over 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant, and every ten minutes a new individual is added to the national transplant waiting list.

Apple’s own Steve Jobs had difficulty receiving a liver transplant. Jobs died of complications from pancreatic cancer in 2011, which was two years after finally receiving a liver transplant in Tennessee. The liver was responsible for extending his life, despite how difficult it was to get. He received the transplant in Tennessee because the waiting list in California, his home state, was too long since there weren’t many donors. He had two full, great years added onto his life thanks to someone who had registered to be an organ donor. Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Associated Press, "Watching and seeing him every day, waiting and not knowing — it stuck with me and left an impression that I'll never forget." Now, appropriately, Apple has taken its first step to helping with the donor shortage problem.

And it really is a problem. If you think about it, it’s not very easy to become an organ donor. You’re asked when you get your license for the first time, and then each time you renew it, but how often does that happen? If the desire to become an organ donor suddenly struck you one day, what would be the chances of you actually going somewhere to register (or even knowing how to sign up, for that matter)? Sure, you may say that next time you go to renew your license, you’ll register then, but countless people will die during that waiting period between renewals. The other options to register include signing up online or by mail with a completed form. While going online is much easier than going to the DMV or mailing in a form, it is still not as convenient as it could be. That’s what makes this new iOS 10 development so great; Apple is putting the power to become a donor into your hands, literally.

The developer preview of iOS 10 is currently available to iOS Developer Program members here, and a public beta program will be available to iOS users this month here. The official software will be available to everyone this fall as a free update. Until then, if you have any questions, you can visit Donate Life America’s informational webpage.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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