In the last 50 years, the internet has been our technological crown jewel as a society. What began as a network for scientific and academic communities to share research quickly spiraled in several directions. The good: veritably unlimited access to a world of data in nanoseconds, yearly growth of online charity giving (13.5% in 2013), and cute cat pictures. The bad: cybercrime, the dredges of humanity lurking with ill intentions, and popup ads. The point: technology has developed so far that we’re defying former limits, progressing into exciting new territory, and learning the pitfalls along the way.
Today there’s some day brightening news about a life recently saved by technology that’s become so commonplace that it goes unnoticed. Most of you have heard of or seen an Apple Watch before, and many are probably wearing one while reading this. The device itself is a useful and convenient piece of wearable technology with a diverse group of functionalities. Chief among them, though almost always running quietly in the background, are health analytics.
Meet 18 year old Deanna Recktenwald. This young woman is an active athlete in both gymnastics and cheerleading. Being a Florida native, she’s no stranger to jogging along parts of 1,200 miles of beach ensconcing the state’s expansive coastline. Participating in plenty of physically strenuous activities, she gets the heart pumping and blood flowing regularly. She also wears an Apple Watch to monitor her physical progress.
What she didn’t expect was an eerie warning while sitting in church on a Sunday. Her Apple Watch alerted her out of the blue, warning her that her resting heart rate was dangerously high at 190 beats per minute. With a healthy, normal resting heart rate being between 60 and 100 beats per minute, the watch recommended she seek immediate medical attention. Her mother, a registered nurse, confirmed on the spot that something was wrong:
“It was scary because she was just sitting there. She wasn’t doing anything. It wasn’t like she was running around. She was just standing there and it spiked up to 190.”
Among the 3 million that visit Urgent Care facilities weekly in the U.S., Deanna was one of the more fortunate ones. Upon her vitals being looked at by Urgent Care physicians, she was sent immediately to the emergency room where blood tests showed that her kidneys were failing; working at 20%, her kidneys were shutting down. She spent three days in the hospital and may need a transplant in the next couple years. All of this going unnoticed until her Apple Watch raised the alarm and, in her and her mother’s mind, saved her life. Having received the life saving piece of technology as a Christmas gift, they’re both incredibly grateful.
Her mother sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing her gratitude: “…Her kidneys were only functioning at 20%. She had no symptoms of any kidney issues or any other medical issues. If it wasn’t for her Apple Watch alarming her about her HR we wouldn’t have discovered her kidney issue. I honestly feel that your Apple Watch has saved my daughter’s life…I am forever grateful to Apple for developing such an amazing life saving product.”
Tim Cook responded, thankful that Deanna was okay and that her story inspires them to keep developing technologies that will do good and save lives. Teamed up with Stanford Medicine for the Apple Heart Study app, Apple has progressive plans in the health science world. Deanna won’t sleep without her Apple Watch. We know one family who’s thankful for kids these days and their technologies and, honestly, we’re glad for them, too.