iPhone to the Rescue…

I’ve resisted writing about Haiti because, while incredibly tragic, it irks me to see our nation running to the aid of some other country when there’s so many terrible problems at home. I don’t think we should be policing the world or trying to save it, especially now. I guess the older I get, the more isolationist I become, but I can’t help thinking “why don’t celebraties have telethons to fix problems in America?”.

But I digress.

From the rubble of one of the world’s poorest countries came a story which seemed to perfectly highlight the haves and have-nots of the tragedy. And both the absurdity, and wonder, of our national obsession with technology.

An iPhone saved a man’s life in Haiti.

No, this is not an Apple commercial. At least, not yet. THIS STORY is true.

A documentary filmmaker got trapped in the rubble of his hotel. The destruction caused a head injury and a compound fracture. He was going into shock.

But he had a First-Aid app on his iPhone, and was able to both diagnose and treat himself. Without this app, it is unlikely he would have survived the days until he was pulled from the rubble.

I’m awed by the power we now hold in our hands. The access to information once buried in libraries or found in the highest realms of expertise is now quite literally at the tip of our fingers.

And then I’m embarrassed. Because my first thought was “what app was that?”. Yet I know I’m not alone because the article spelled out the title and publisher of the exact program he used. I resist the urge to download it immediately… and then wonder how much of a purchasing spike this app received because of this news coverage.

How long before the company advertises this product as “proven to save lives”. Or will they embrace that shadiest of practices… linking a purchase to a tragedy under the guise of donation. “Send a dollar to Haiti with every purchase”.

Never mind where the rest of the purchase price goes…

So I’m stuck in a quandary. I love my iPhone. But, with all its cool apple-ness and my instant weather and tweet-ability… it is, at it’s core, a platform to help me consume. I can have just a little bit more. Know just a little bit more. Find just a little bit more.

With more than 1 Billion Apps downloaded to date, iTunes starts to seem like the smartest drug dealer in the world. We keep coming back for more because it’s helping us live better, and it might even save our lives!

But that 1 Billion represents a lot more money than has gone to Haiti, or any tragedy. Which makes me wonder… Since the iPhone is now saving lives, lets just send a big box to the next tragedy-thrashed area and wish them the best of luck!

Just picture it = iREDCROSS. iFEMA.

Never mind the people who survived 2 weeks in the rubble drinking leaking bath water and proving real miracles do happen. Thanks to our smart phones and on-line app stores, every tragedy can be repackaged as a reason to purchase something new.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go download that First-Aid app. I live in earthquake country, remember. And come to think of it, my iPhone needs to be charged.


  1. my thought was “the guys has an iphone which I can’t afford in the poorest country in the western hemisphere?!” selfish,yes. However I am glad for ANYONE who survived regardless.

    I agree with all your other sentiments. Are we related somehow?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *