The Apple Watch known for its health monitoring capabilities, recently played a pivotal role in saving the life of an elderly woman during a flight emergency. Dr. Rashid Riaz, a 43-year-old British doctor from Hereford County Hospital, utilized a flight attendant’s Apple Watch to help a passenger experiencing respiratory distress on a Ryanair flight from Birmingham, England, to Verona, Italy, on January 9 of this year.
A woman in her 70s, facing shortness of breath mid-flight, caught the attention of the crew. Dr. Rashid Riaz, responding to a query about the presence of a doctor on board, stepped forward to assist. Initially, the passenger did not respond to the doctor’s questions. However, upon discovering her history of heart problems, Dr. Riaz requested the flight attendant’s Apple Watch to check her blood oxygen levels.
Using the Blood Oxygen app, designed for general fitness and wellness, Dr. Riaz found that the patient had low oxygen saturation. Despite the app’s disclaimer that it is not intended for medical use, it proved beneficial in this critical situation. Dr. Riaz requested an oxygen cylinder from the Ryanair crew to stabilize the woman’s oxygen levels until landing in Italy.
The swift medical intervention on the flight, guided by the Apple Watch, facilitated a quick recovery for the passenger. Dr. Rashid Riaz commended the airline for their response and suggested that aircraft should be equipped with devices to measure vital signs and address emergencies.
Reflecting on the incident, Dr. Riaz shared his appreciation for how the gadget assisted him during the emergency, emphasizing its potential for enhancing in-flight medical responses. He advocated for the inclusion of equipment on planes to measure vital signs, such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation, and address specific medical emergencies like diabetes.
While the Blood Oxygen app played a crucial role in this incident, it’s worth noting that Apple and Masim, a medical technology company, are currently in a dispute over patents related to their software. Recently, Apple announced that the Blood Oxygen app would not be available on the Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watches.This remarkable incident underscores the potential of everyday gadgets in unexpected life-saving situations and prompts discussions on improving in-flight medical preparedness.