More than 120,000 Americans need a life-saving organ. Now, iPhone users who upgrade to the new iOS 10 operating system can sign up to be a donor through their device.
A new feature in the iPhone’s Health app allows U.S. users to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor from their phones. Registrations are submitted directly to the National Donate Life Registry.
“On average, 22 people die every day in America because there are not enough available organs,” says Dr. Barry Browne, medical director of abdominal transplant at Sharp Memorial Hospital. “This is a simple and easy way for people to make their intentions about organ donation known before a tragedy strikes.”
The U.S. faces an ever-increasing shortage of organ donors. In the past two decades, the number of people in need of transplants has grown tenfold, while the number of deceased donors has remained static.
In May, the Obama administration announced a series of actions intended to close the gap between the 95 percent of Americans who support organ donation and the approximately 50 percent who are registered donors. These include investing in research, launching advocacy campaigns across social media and partnering with technology companies to develop easier ways for people to enroll.
To be a donor, individuals in the U.S. must register with their state’s organ donation registry (previously it was when they obtained a driver’s license) or the decision rests with their relatives. This choice can be agonizing for families who don’t know their loved one’s wishes.
One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 50 others. The heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, lungs and intestines are all transplantable organs. Examples of tissue that could save or enhance someone’s life include eyes/corneas, heart valves, bones and skin grafts.
Sharp Memorial has facilitated more than 2,200 transplants since 1985. In 2015, this totaled 63 kidneys, 11 hearts, and three kidney-pancreas transplants. Find patient stories about organ donation on Sharp Health News.
For the news media: To talk with Dr. Browne about the new iOS feature for organ donation for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.