Relentless Apple Watch gets user to the ER just in time

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Relentless Apple Watch gets user to the ER just in time
Cleveland's News5 (via 9to5Mac) recently ran a story about a man named Ken Counihan who loved to use his Apple Watch. With the device on his wrist, Counihan would track his workouts and listen to music using his Apple timepiece. "I am very active and I do — I like to keep track of what I'm doing — calorie stuff. I'll take it off and charge it so that I can wear it during the day...I wear it to bed as well — keep track of sleep too."

The Apple Watch gave two warnings to one user on the same day saving his life in the process


But the routine that Ken had with his Apple Watch changed last October. He tells the story. "I got an alert back in October that my breathing was elevated. So basically you have a certain number of breaths per minute, basically said I went from 14 to 17 or 18," Counihan said. "My wife had me make a phone call to my son and he suggested I go to the outpatient care, get it looked at, which is what I did. And they just did an X-ray. And they gave me some meds for bronchitis at the time."


So Counihan figured that despite the warning from his Apple Watch, he got off fairly easy (bronchitis isn't a walk in the park, but it beats having a serious heart ailment). But the Apple Watch, once it spots a problem, is tenacious. The same day he received the bronchitis diagnosis, the blood oxygen monitor on the device sprung into action. Once again, Ken gives us the play-by-play.

"My blood oxygen—which is normally mid-90s, which is what (it) is supposed to be, kind of 95 and up—started to get out to the mid-80s," Counihan said. "It was 10 o'clock at night. My wife was very concerned. My son was very concerned. I was like 'I just want to go to bed. I'm tired…and they were both like 'No, you've got to get to the ER." He went to the ER and this time, after hearing the numbers provided by the Apple Watch, doctors ordered more tests.

The doctors found that Counihan was suffering from something more life-threatening than bronchitis. "They took me back to the CT scan and found that I had blood clots all over my lungs," he said. According to the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Lucy Franjic, an emergency medical physician, this was a serious condition that could have cost Ken his life. The doctor said, "Blood clots actually can become a life-threatening condition if they're not caught early enough."

Had he ignored the alert from his Apple Watch, Ken Counihan probably would died overnight


Luckily for Counihan, his Apple Watch was working around the clock (no pun intended) and warned him about his SP02 level. The doctors said that it was a good thing that Ken went to the ER. That's because 60% of the people that have this condition at the same stage as Counihan go to sleep and do not wake up the next morning.

Dr. Franjic said that she sees more patients coming into the ER with test results from their smartwatches and other devices. She says, "We do have patients that come in and they do notice these trends of 'my heart rate's higher than usual' or 'it's showing me that... I'm having an abnormal rhythm. And so having those pieces of information can kind of just help the physician to try and diagnose what the underlying issue is and to help prevent any life-threatening emergencies from occurring."

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Counihan not only credits the Apple Watch with saving his life, but he also has friends who bought the device because of what happened to him. "I just had dinner with a friend the other night...and he's looking to get an Apple Watch now as well. It saved my life. It's amazing."

Counihan was put on blood thinners and is feeling much better.

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