Apple Watch Acts as Guardian Angel: Doctor’s Quick Actions Save Passenger on Airborne Drama

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The Apple Watch has once again proven its worth in monitoring health, this time serving as a vital tool in the hands of a British doctor during a mid-flight emergency. 

Dr. Rashid Riaz, a 43-year-old physician at Hereford County Hospital, utilized a flight attendant’s Apple Watch to save the life of an elderly woman experiencing respiratory distress on a Ryanair flight from Birmingham, England, to Verona, Italy on January 9.

The woman, in her 70s and with a history of heart problems, became short of breath during the flight. When the crew sought a doctor’s assistance, Dr. Riaz stepped forward. 

Initially facing difficulty in obtaining information from the patient, he requested the use of the Apple Watch to check her blood oxygen levels. 

Using the Blood Oxygen app on the watch, designed for general fitness and wellness purposes according to Apple, Dr. Riaz identified low oxygen saturation, a critical indication of respiratory distress.

Apple Watch’s Unofficial Medical Role

apple-watch-acts-as-guardian-angel-doctor's-quick-actions-save-passenger-on-airborne-drama
The Apple Watch has once again proven its worth in monitoring health, this time serving as a vital tool in the hands of a British doctor during a mid-flight emergency.

While the app is not officially intended for medical use, it played a crucial role in this particular scenario. Dr. Riaz then requested an oxygen cylinder from the Ryanair crew to stabilize the woman’s oxygen saturation until they landed in Italy. With prompt medical attention upon landing, the woman quickly recovered.

Reflecting on the experience, Dr. Riaz commended the airline for their handling of the situation and suggested that aircraft should be equipped with devices to measure vital signs such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation, as well as identify diabetic emergencies. He emphasized the potential for basic gadgets like the Apple Watch to improve in-flight emergency responses.

Despite the app’s usefulness, recent developments reveal that Apple and Masim, a medical technology company, are in a patent dispute related to their software. 

Apple announced that the Blood Oxygen app would not be available on the Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watches due to these ongoing legal issues.

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