A child would have died without this critical Apple Watch feature

A child would have died without this critical Apple Watch feature

An Apple Watch saved the life of a 14 year old child in Peru after it detected a serious health issue. This one feature was key to his survival.

A recent story of an Apple Watch saving the life of a child has emerged. A father and son were on a hike in the Peruvian mountains at an altitude of over 4200m when the father, Joseph, noticed that his son was beginning to show signs of acute mountain sickness. This condition can become fatal without receiving quick medical treatment. 

One of the Apple Watch's key features allowed the father to detect and monitor the blood oxygen levels of his son. The Blood Oxygen app shows you the percentage of oxygen that your red blood cells are carrying from your lungs to the rest of your body. A normal blood oxygen reading is between 95%-100%, anything below this could be cause for concern. Joseph saw that his son's blood oxygen readings were lower than normal and he used the Apple Watch to monitor them overnight whilst waiting for the rescuers to arrive. 

The father and son both survived the ordeal and contacted Tim Cook, Apple's CEO to that him. Surprisingly, they received a reply: "This sounds like a terrifying situation. I hope he's doing well now. Thank you for sharing his story with us. Please convey my regards to him. Tim.".

This isn't the first instance of an Apple Watch saving someone's life. For example there is the ECG feature. An electrocardiogram can be used to check for different heart conditions by monitoring the electrical signals from the heart. This feature helped a dentist after he fell a sharp pain in his chest. After using the ECG function of his Apple Watch Series 6, he was shown that his heart rate was abnormal and that he should contact emergency services immediately. He did, and it was found that he had a blocked artery. Something that would not have been detected without his smartwatch.

These stories are arguments for the continued use of this type of biometric tracking that the Apple Watch provides, despite a recent complaint from the medical device company, Masimo, for a patent infringement, which in turn led to sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 being banned. It was ruled that the blood oxygen sensors in both devices infringed on patents from Masimno. Since the ruling in December 2023, both devices were re-released without this key feature. Following on from this ruling, Apple may decide to no longer include this feature in future models... it isn't hard to imagine the story of Joseph and his son having a different ending if the Apple Watch didn't have this feature.