My Apple Watch saved my life: 5 people share their stories

Nobody seen Toralv Østvang fall and hit his head on the toilet flooring that night time, aside from his Apple Watch. Kacie Anderson used her watch to get out of her automotive after a close to deadly accident left her and her 9-month-old child trapped inside. The one warning signal Heather Hendershot had that one thing was significantly flawed together with her physique got here from her wrist.

These tales and extra have one frequent thread. In September of 2014, when Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the primary Apple Watch, he did not exaggerate when he mentioned it was essentially the most private machine the corporate had ever created. Since its launch, the Apple Watch has turn out to be a health coach, a well being monitor and a relentless solution to keep related. And for some customers, it has been rather more.

For these folks, it even modified their lives.


Toralv Østvang

Toralv Østvang, 68, Oslo, Norway 

Longtime tech reporter Torav Østvang has examined his share of Apple units, however none have left extra of a mark than the Apple Watch.

In February 2019, Østvang was staying with mates simply outdoors of Oslo, Norway, the place he lives. He wore his Apple Watch Series 4 to mattress that night time so he may check a sleep app, however then issues begin to get blurry. He has no reminiscence of his fall later that night time and does not bear in mind getting again into mattress.

“The very first thing I bear in mind was mendacity in mattress, having a horrible ache in my head,” Østvang says. “I touched my face and felt blood.” He drifted out and in of consciousness till he awoke to a lit room and three policemen standing above him.

Someday round Four a.m., he had bought as much as go to the toilet when he skilled a sudden drop in blood stress. He fainted and landed face first on the toilet flooring. His collapse triggered the autumn detection function on the Apple Watch (a brand new function on the Collection 4), which routinely notifies emergency providers if it does not understand any motion after a minute of detecting a tough fall.

“No one heard my fall,” he says. “My buddy and his spouse did not hear something about it till the police automotive got here to their door.”

After getting the alert, the native police contacted his spouse who was capable of give them the complete tackle of the place her husband was staying.

“They may see the GPS coordinates of the place I used to be, however they could not see precisely which house I used to be in,” Østvang says.

The paramedics instantly took him to a close-by hospital. He had suffered three fractures to his face, and his chin bone had been pressed in. Although he is cautious to say the Apple Watch saved his life, he does admit that it saved him from needing surgical procedure.

“They are saying it was necessary to get to hospital as quickly as attainable,” says Østvang. “The decision and the police made that occur in a short time.”


Kacie Anderson

Kacie Anderson, 26, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

It was the height of rush hour on a wet Friday night time in Maryland, only a few days earlier than Christmas. Kacie Anderson was on her manner dwelling together with her 9-month-old son Parker within the backseat when she stopped at a busy intersection alongside the freeway. Her husband just a few vehicles behind her.

“I used to be really searching the window when abruptly I felt this large pressure on the left aspect,” says Anderson. “My face hit the steering wheel, got here again, hit the entrance of my headrests, after which it flung me again ahead into the aspect window.”

That they had been hit by a drunk driver going 62 mph.


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The Apple Watch has been life changing for these four…


“The first thing I could think of was, ‘Is Parker OK?’ I could hear him screaming,” she says. “I could smell gas leaking in the car, but I couldn’t see at all.” She reached around for her phone to call for help, but the crash had sent everything airborne and she couldn’t find it. While she was searching, her hand bumped up against her wrist and she remembered she was wearing her Apple Watch. She hit the digital crown and said, “Siri, call 911.”

By the time her husband reached the scene of the wreck, the ambulance had already arrived. “They were able to tell where I was, without me even really knowing,” Anderson says. “I don’t know that anybody would have been able to approach the car, it’s such a busy street.”

It took well over a year for both Kacie and her son to completely recover from the injuries they sustained in the crash, but she says it could’ve been a lot worse had they not gotten help when they did. 

She later wrote a letter to Tim Cook, thanking him for the Apple Watch that she credits with getting her out of that wreck. She was contacted by Apple to feature her story along with others in the Apple Watch Real Stories campaign video later that year.


Heather Hendershot

Heather Hendershot, 27, Pomona, Kansas

At 26, Heather Hendershot didn’t think she had to worry about her health. She was young, athletic and had no previous medical conditions.

After putting her kids to bed one night, she was sitting on the couch with her husband when she heard a beep on her Apple Watch. She looked down to see a notification saying her heart rate was above 120 beats per minute.

“I thought the watch had to be wrong because I couldn’t feel my heart racing,” she says. “I didn’t feel like anything was wrong at all.”

In 2017, the Apple Watch added the high heart rate notifications to the watch, which let users know when their heart spiked above a certain level. Though Hendershot’s heart rate continued to rise throughout the night, she still didn’t feel any symptoms. The next morning her husband insisted that she make a precautionary visit to the urgent care clinic.

While there, they conducted strep throat and flu tests. Both came back negative, but her heart rate was so high that they decided to monitor her further.

“It wasn’t until I heard the doctors mention ICU that I realized how serious the whole situation was,” she says.

Doctors diagnosed her with hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland produces excess thyroxine hormone. If left untreated, it could lead to life-threatening complications.

“I am not someone who checks their heart rate randomly,” Hendershot says. “So I’m very confident that I wouldn’t have been able to detect it without the Apple Watch.”


Jason Saucier

Jason Saucier, 45, Orlando, Florida 

Jason Saucier hadn’t been feeling like himself for a few weeks, but he didn’t know how serious it was until his Apple Watch sounded the alarm.

“As soon as I put my watch on, it made a sound that I’ve never heard before,” he says. “I looked down and it said that I was in aFib.”

In addition to its high heart rate alert, the watch also tells you if your heart rhythm may be indicative of atrial fibrillation, a type of heart condition that can increase your risk of stroke and other serious heart complications.

Despite some shortness of breath, he still went to work that morning and continued to get the same alert throughout the day. It wasn’t until several of his coworkers mentioned he looked white as a ghost that he finally decided to go to the emergency room.

“As soon as I got there, the cardiac team got right on me and said that I was close to going into cardiac arrest,” says Saucier.

The doctors confirmed what the watch had been telling him, he was in aFib. They kept him overnight at the hospital, but he eventually transitioned out of aFib and they were able to discharge him the following day.  

Exactly one week later, the same notification popped up on his Apple Watch.

“I got home from work, had dinner and I was sitting on my couch and just couldn’t catch my breath,” he says.

This time Saucier listened to his watch and immediately returned to the emergency room. He remained in aFib for three days, and doctors kept him in the hospital for two additional days as they monitored his response to a new heart medication. 

He hasn’t received any more alerts from his Apple Watch since that second episode in September 2019. He credits the new medication, but he continues to use the Apple Watch to keep tabs on his heart.

“It’s like a safety blanket,” he says. “I think it’s probably going to be an ongoing thing for me for the rest of my life. And it’s good that I have this watch to help me monitor it.” 


George Kometiani before his weight loss. 

George Kometiani


George Kometiani

George Kometiani, 32, Brooklyn, New York

His weight had been creeping up on him for years, but it wasn’t until his 30th birthday that George Kometiani really felt his nearly 300 pounds start to take a toll on his health.

“It was hard to go up the stairs, my knees started making a clicking sound because of the pressure,” he says. “And then the snoring came in.”

His doctor at the time warned that if he didn’t lose 30 pounds, his snoring, which was affecting his sleep, would likely worsen and require medical intervention.

That’s when he decided to take on the challenge of losing weight. He started by changing his eating habits, substituting his usual takeout for healthier options. He was surprised at how quickly he lost the first 30 pounds, but he had also lost muscle mass, which wasn’t what he intended, and his snoring was not going away.

“This is when the Apple Watch kicked in,” he says.

Kometiani made a conscious effort to close his move ring — the red circle on the Watch that indicates calories burned — every day, and he started paying attention to the exercise challenges that would pop up on his screen. The day after a tough workout for example, the Apple Watch would push him to match the success of the previous day. Which he did, over and over again.

“It really helped me understand how much effort I needed to put into my day,” says Kometiani. “Those little things from a nonjudgmental, disconnected point of view really help.”

Within a year of starting his health kick, Kometiani had lost 100 pounds. His snoring disappeared along with other health issues like joint pain, backaches, headaches. And he was a lot happier.

“You don’t understand how many weight limitations you have around you… I couldn’t even ride a rollercoaster,” he says. “Now I feel like I can do anything.”

Though these stories are just from the people I spoke to, a quick Google search will yield dozens more like them. In September 2018, ZDNet writer Jason Perlow described his own experience with the Apple Watch after it detected he was in aFib. 

I had my own minor health scare detected by the Apple Watch. In October 2018, while I was testing the ECG feature in the Series 4 alongside a medical EKG at the University of San Francisco Medical Center, both devices saw that I had an early heart beat. While it turned out to be harmless, Dr. Gregory Marcus at UCSF Medical Center suggested I keep an eye out on it going forward.  

If you or anyone you know have been impacted by the Apple Watch, please share your story with us in the comments section below. 

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Vanessa Hand Orellana