Teen Receives Call From Tim Cook, iPhone, and Apple Internship After Apple Watch Saves His Life

Apple has been putting a significant focus on health-related topics in recent months, led by the Apple Watch's health and fitness sensors and associated app functionality. In fact, just a few weeks ago at its "Hey Siri" media event, the company showed off some Apple Watch apps that could help doctors keep track of patients and even read the heartbeat of a baby still in its mother's womb.

Now, the Apple Watch is becoming known as a lifesaver, as well, with a story emerging over the weekend about a teenage football player's abnormal after-practice heartrate and his Apple Watch's tracking that led him to determine something was seriously wrong.

watch heartrate lifesave
Paul Houle Jr., a 17-year-old Tabor Academy senior in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, discovered after practice one day that he had pain in his chest and back when taking deep breaths, along with a rapid heart rate.
“After practice I went and took a nap, my heart rate was still at 145.” He went to the hospital, where he learned he had heart, liver and kidney failure, which could have been fatal if not for his watch.

“If my Apple Watch hadn’t shown me it was 145, I would have done nothing about it.”
Houle was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition that occurs after intense exercise results in the leaking of enzymes and proteins into the blood from muscle cells. Some cases can lead to kidney failure and can be fatal and when Houle arrived at the hospital he was suffering from simultaneous heart, liver, and kidney failure.

Although initially a skeptic of the Apple Watch, Houle's father is now a convert and has recently purchased Apple Watches for both himself and his wife, thankful for the lifesaving intervention of Apple's product in his son's life.

Since Houle's story surfaced late last week, word of the ordeal reached Apple CEO Tim Cook, who contacted Houle with a personal phone call a few days after his diagnosis and recovery. "I got a phone call from a California number," said Houle. "And he said 'Hello, my name is Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.'" Cook proceeded to offer the Cape Cod teenager a brand-new iPhone and a summer internship at the company's corporate headquarters in Cupertino next year.

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Top Rated Comments

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12 months ago
Have to admit, glad he had the watch and checked his HR. Cool example of useful tech.
Rating: 28 Votes
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12 months ago
Amazing story! This is why I am such a huge fan of the company. I got an Apple Watch last week for a similar reason! I'm going in for open-heart surgery in the next week or so and this really helps keep my heart rate logged. I have palpitations due to an arrhythmia problem and a 7cm aneurysm, so it's a big deal. Thankfully, I can send all of this information to my team of surgeons. I couldn't imagine not having this now! I know it sounds cheesy and tacky, but...

Thanks, Apple!
Rating: 28 Votes
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12 months ago

amazing story.. and awesome of tim cook. stories like these make me think an apple watch might be worth it, but I am going to wait out until the next gen comes around.


If you live that long... :p
Rating: 25 Votes
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12 months ago
In most cases, I would be somehow skeptic about 50-odd year old guys calling my teen children and offering free iPhones.
Rating: 25 Votes
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12 months ago
Cue a wave of teenagers trying to have near-death experiences in order to land internships at Apple.
Rating: 24 Votes
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12 months ago
I don't want to sound like an utter berk, but how does this case qualify him for an internship?
Rating: 21 Votes
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12 months ago
Tim Cook: Paul, I'd like to give you a free iPhone.
Paul Houle: Great! As long as it isn't 16gb!
Tim Cook: Doh!

Seriously though, how fortunate for him and his family this saved his life.
Rating: 16 Votes
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12 months ago

His life was saved because he used a heart rate monitor. Nothing Apple specific to this...
It's just Apple jumping on a PR opportunity (Apple Watch saves lives).


What other heart rate monitor do you have attached to you all day, though? Apple made a heart rate monitor that some people (not me, yet) actually want to wear all day, and since this person wore his, he knew there was a problem.

It reminds me of a lesson the army learned a few years ago when they made eye protection that worked but looked dumb: nobody wore it because nobody wanted to look dumb. As a result, people kept having eye problems. The army redesigned the eye protection with a fashion company helping them make it not look dumb, and then suddenly everybody wore it, and eye problems stopped being a thing.

(I don't remember more specific details - I can't remember the exact problems they were having. I read about it in a book a few years ago... I think Better was the name of the book... it was a collection of anecdotes written by doctors.)
Rating: 11 Votes
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12 months ago
It seems odd to me to offer him an internship for nearly dying, but perhaps it's just me.
Rating: 9 Votes
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12 months ago

Yeah man... There's a big difference between cheer-leading and useful facts. For 349 bucks (or much less), I can get a much better product to monitor my health.


But the thing is, people only get health monitoring devices if they think they should be concerned about their health. That is, apparently healthy people with no history of health problems aren't lining up at the health store to buy heart monitors. People get Apple Watch for non-health related reasons, then find that it is useful for health tracking, too.

The high school student in this story might eventually have realized he was sick and needed to go to the hospital even without the Apple Watch. But I think seeing that heartbeat in numbers probably shocked him into realizing something was very wrong, whereas if not for the watch, it wouldn't have even occurred to him to check his heartbeat. At the least, the watch made him go get help earlier than otherwise.
Rating: 8 Votes
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