This User’s Life was Saved by His Apple Watch’s Alert on Elevated Breathing

An owner ofApple Watch residing in Cleveland has the day he bought the smartwatch to thank, as the device kept sending him alerts for something that later turned out to be blood clots in the lungs with a high potential for pulmonary embolism which may result in death. Doctors say few people have a chance of surviving if they don’t get medical attention first.

Bad diagnosis from the doctor, but luckily the Apple Watch is watching

Ken Counihan explains that he prefers to keep track of what he does, which motivated buying the Apple Watch in the first place. One day, the device kept sending him alerts, indicating that his breathing was high. When he and his wife went to the doctor, all he did was do an X-ray and prescribe medication.

« In October, I received an alert telling me that my breathing was high. Basically you have a certain number of breaths per minute, and I said I went from 14 to 17 or 18. My wife asked me to phone my son and he suggested I go to the outpatient center to have my condition checked, which I did. They just did an x-ray. They gave me medicine for bronchitis back then« .

Later that night, Counihan’s blood oxygen level began to drop, and it was only natural that his wife and son rushed to the hospital, where further diagnostics revealed that the Apple Watch owner had blood clots in all his lungs.

The measurement of the oxygen level in the blood, an essential for this person

Dr. Lucy Franjic, emergency physician at the Cleveland Clinic, explains that blood clots are a serious condition and that Mr. Counihan’s life would have been at stake if he had not consulted a doctor sooner.

« My blood oxygen level – which is normally around 90%, which is supposed to be 95% and above – started to go down to 80%. It was 10 p.m. My wife was very worried. My son was very worried. I said, “I just want to go to bed. I’m tired…and they both said to me, “No, you have to go to the emergency room”. They took me back to the CT scan and found I had blood clots in all my lungs« .

Franjic specifies that 60% of people who have blood clots in their lungs may not have woken up the next day, indicating that while the Apple Watch didn’t really alert him to the issue, the notifications he received were enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, which ultimately saved his life. Counihan certainly credits his wrist device for saving him an untimely death, and as a precaution he takes blood thinners and feels much better.

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It’s likely that any other Apple Watch alerts he receives will worry him and compel him to go to the doctor as soon as possible, but in these cases prevention is better than cure.

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