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.
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.