The 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 on his Apple watch. “I’m very active and I do – I like to keep track of what I’m doing – calorie stuff. I take it off and charge it so I can wear it during the day… I wear it to bed too – keep track of sleep too.”

The Apple Watch gave a user two alerts on the same day, saving their life in the process

But the routine that Ken had with his Apple Watch changed last October. He tells the story. “I received an alert in October that my breathing was increased. So basically you have a certain number of breaths per minute, basically saying I went from 14 to 17 or 18,” Counihan said. “My wife asked me to call my son and he suggested I go to home care and get it checked out, which I did. And they were doing an x-ray. And they gave me medication for bronchitis at the time.”

The Apple Watch’s blood oxygen meter saved the life of Ken Counihan

So Counihan figured he got off pretty easy despite the warning from his Apple Watch (bronchitis isn’t a walk in the park, but it does beat with a serious heart condition). But the Apple Watch is stubborn once it detects a problem. The same day he was diagnosed with bronchitis, the device’s blood oxygen meter kicked into action. Once again, Ken gives us the play-by-play.

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“My blood oxygen levels — which are usually in the mid-90s, which (it’s) supposed to be, around 95 and up — started to come out in the mid-80s,” Counihan said. “It was 10 o’clock at night. My wife was very concerned. My son was very worried. I said, ‘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 ER and this time, after hearing the numbers provided by the Apple Watch, the doctors ordered more tests. The 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 Dr. Lucy Franjic, an emergency room physician at the Cleveland Clinic, this was a serious condition that could have killed Ken. The doctor said, “Blood clots can actually become life-threatening if not caught early enough.”

Had he ignored his Apple Watch warning, Ken Counihan would likely have died overnight

Luckily for Counihan, his Apple Watch was working 24/7 (no pun intended) warning him of his SP02 level. The doctors said it was a good thing that Ken went to the ER. That’s because 60% of people who have this condition at the same stage as Counihan go to sleep and don’t wake up the next morning.

dr Franjic said she sees more patients coming to the ER with test results from their smartwatches and other devices. She says, “We have patients who come in and they notice these trends, like ‘my heart rate is faster than usual’ or ‘it shows me that… I have an abnormal rhythm’ can only help the doctor diagnose the underlying problem and to prevent life-threatening emergencies from occurring.

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Not only does Counihan credit the Apple Watch for saving his life, but he also has friends who bought the device because of what happened to him. “I had dinner with a friend the other night… and now he wants to get an Apple Watch too. She saved my life. It’s incredible.”

Counihan has been put on blood thinners and is feeling much better.