THE IRISH KIDNEY Association launches its annual Organ Donor Awareness Week today. The week, running from 31 March to 7 April, will focus on the need to carry donor cards.
However, the IKA is also reaching out to a new generation by making it possible to carry the ‘card’ within your smartphone. Launched last year, the card is available as an iPhone and Android App called ‘Organ Donor ECard’.
The most recent comparative study of the numbers of transplant operations across Europe (Transplant Newsletter 2011, commissioned by the Council of Europe) showed that the number of transplants in Ireland was in decline. In a letter to the Medical Independent last November, Mark Murphy, CEO of the IKA, attributed this to “a disappointingly huge drop in deceased organ donation”. However, the Sunday Business Post yesterday reported that the number of ops had seen an increase again in 2011.
The Organ Donor ECard apps state that 650 people in Ireland are waiting for transplant ops. While organ donor cards do not have a legally binding status, the IKA claims that “your next-of-kin are more likely to carry out your wish to donate your organs after your death, if they have had a conversation with you, or they can see evidence of your wish somewhere”.
So far, there have been over 1,000 downloads of the Android app – the figures for iPhone apps was not available at time of publication. Those who download it are asked to keep the Organ Donor ECard symbol on the front page of their smartphone, as paramedics have been instructed to look for it.
Do you have/want a donor card – whether on your smartphone or in paper form?