A Massachusetts General Hospital physician was instrumental in getting two new medical emojis—an anatomically correct heart and a pair of lungs—approved for an update later this year, the Boston Globe reported Feb. 4.
Shuhan He, an emergency medicine physician at MGH, co-authored the proposal for the new emojis alongside Melissa Thermidor, of the NHS in the U.K.; Christian Kamkoff, an MFA candidate at Columbia; and Jennifer Lee, co-founder of Emojination. The pair of emojis were approved Jan. 29 as part of a suite of 117 new images that will be added to the emoji lexicon in 2020.
“The anatomical heart and lungs are really widely applicable, not only just in medicine but outside of it as well,” He told the Globe. “People could use it for all these various reasons.”
He said the heart and lungs could be paired with other emojis to illustrate medical situations—a heart plus fire for “heartburn,” for example, or the lungs plus a person running to convey “aerobic exercise.”
“You may think of emoji as a fun messaging tool, however, they could be used to start some serious conversations about our health, and we need to get people talking about these organs and the fact that more people need to donate them to save lives,” Thermidor told the Globe. “Social media, including emoji, can be really powerful in inspiring people to talk about organ donation.”
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