Relentless Apple Watch gets the user to the emergency room just in time

Cleveland’s News5 (via 9to5Mac) recently ran a story about a man named Ken Counihan who loved using his Apple Watch. With the device on his wrist, Counihan tracked his workouts and listened to music using his Apple Watch. “I’m very active and I do—I like to keep track of what I’m doing—calories. I take it off and charge it so I can wear it throughout the day…I have wear it to bed too – keep track of your sleep too.”

The Apple Watch provided two alerts to one user on the same day, saving his life in the process

But the routine Ken had with his Apple Watch changed last October. He tells the story. “I got a warning back in October that my respirations were elevated. So basically you have a certain number of breaths per minute, basically I said I went from 14 to 17 or 18,” Counihan said. “My wife made me call my son and he suggested I go to the ER, get it checked out, which is what I did. And they just took an X-ray. And they gave me some medicine for bronchitis at the time .”

So Counihan figured that despite the warning from his Apple Watch, he got off pretty easy (bronchitis isn’t a walk in the park, but having a serious heart condition beats it). But the Apple Watch, once it detects a problem, is persistent. On the same day that he received the bronchitis diagnosis, the blood oxygen monitor on the machine went into action. Once again, Ken gives us the play-by-play.

“My blood oxygen — which is normally mid-90s, which is what (it) should be, kind of 95 and up — started getting out to the mid-80s,” Counihan said. “It was 10 o’clock at night. My wife was very worried. My son was very worried. I thought, “I just want to go to bed. I’m tired … and they both said “No, you have to go to the ER.” He went to the emergency room, and this time, after hearing the numbers announced by Apple Watch, doctors ordered more tests.
Doctors determined that Counihan was suffering from something more life-threatening than bronchitis. “They took me back for the CT scan and found I had blood clots all over my lungs,” he said. According to Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Lucy Franjic, an emergency physician, this was a serious condition that could have cost Ken his life. The doctor said: “Blood clots can actually become a life-threatening condition if not caught early enough.”

If he had ignored the warning from his Apple Watch, Ken Counihan would probably have died overnight

Fortunately for Counihan, his Apple Watch was working around the clock (no pun intended) alerting him to his SP02 level. The doctors said it was a good thing Ken went to the emergency room. That’s because 60% of people who have this condition at the same stage as Counihan go to bed and don’t wake up the next morning.

Dr. Franjic said she’s seeing more patients come into the emergency room with test results from their smartwatches and other devices. She says, “We have patients come in and they notice these trends of ‘my heart rate is higher than normal’ or ‘it shows me that… I have an abnormal rhythm. And then they have this information can on a way to just help the doctor try to diagnose what the underlying problem is and help prevent life-threatening emergencies from occurring.”

Not only does Counihan credit 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 also looking to get an Apple Watch now. It saved my life. It’s amazing.”

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

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