On Tuesday, Tim Cook announced the new iOS 10 is going to allow people to register in the National Organ Donor Registry. The company seeks to encourage people to become donors by making it much simpler.

Apple has been working on its health app ever since it was released in 2014 to give people the chance of taking an active role on the maintenance of their health. With it, a person can track medical records, set reminders of medications and even connect to the database of different hospitals to further improve the effect of therapies. Accordingly, the company added a new option to the app which allows customers to register in the National Organ Donor Registry using their smartphone.

Apple wants you to be an organ donor
Tim Cook (left) sitting next to Steve Jobs during an Apple meeting in Cupertino, California. Credit: Timesfreepress.com

It is not the only one in the market. There are several similar other applications developed and previously released by companies like Facebook, but since it comes with the health app, all Apple users will have the option of becoming donors without having to download anything, just by going to one of the default apps.

The need is real

Steve Jobs is one of the most emblematic men in our lifetime, and he had to experience at first-hand what waiting for an organ feels like. He went through a liver transplant in 2009 which extended his life a couple of years, and it was only possible because a person who died in a car accident was registered as an organ donor. However, not everybody is that lucky.

According to the statistics, every ten minutes a person enters the waiting list for an organ, and they have to wait an average of 3.6 years before getting one. Even though transplants became part of standard medical treatment, there are not enough to help everybody, and around 22 people die waiting for a donation every day. These procedures are usually very successful, and the patients that receive an organ via donation usually live more than five years after the operation.

Most organs that arrive the clinics for transplant come from diseased people who are registered in the donor database. However, there is a huge and very controversial movement of living donors in the United States. Whatever the scenario, the common citizen finally has the opportunity to save someone’s life using a smartphone app.

The app could also be a crime countermeasure

The current system for organ donation just can’t cope with the demand. The sheer number of people waiting for an organ makes it impossible for governments and federal agencies to satisfy everybody’s needs. In consequence, criminal organizations have established organ traffic nets around the globe to profit from the lack of the legal systems.

According to the World Health Organization, the illegal trade of kidneys has increased in a dramatic way in the last couple of decades. The organization says that by 2014, around 10% of kidney transplant used illegal organs from traffic. The WHO identified a hideous practice called “organ tourism.” Desperate, people will go to third world countries where a lot of organizations sell body parts, and they will pay according to the organ. International authorities say a heart can cost close to a million dollars on the black market.

International authorities have tried to contain the problem, but fear is a huge motivation, and nothing is scarier than the threat of imminent death. As long as there are people willing to pay, it will be impossible for law enforcers to stop organ trade. That is why initiatives like the one included in the new iOS 10 are so important.

Source: ABC News