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Doctor uses Apple Watch’s banned blood O2 feature to save passenger mid-air

12:33 AM Jan 24, 2024 IST | IANS
doctor uses apple watch’s banned blood o2 feature to save passenger mid air
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London, Jan 22: A London-based doctor saved the life of an elderly woman mid-air using Apple Watch's newly-banned pulse oximeter that monitors blood oxygen levels.

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On January 9, NHS doctor Rashid Riaz, from Hereford County Hospital in England was travelling by Ryanair from Birmingham to Verona for a skiing holiday when the elderly woman, who does not wish to be named, suffered a medical emergency on the flight, BBC reported.

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The woman, in her 70s, experienced shortness of breath, and Dr Riaz saved her by borrowing the device from a flight attendant.

The pulse oximeter helped the doctor gauge the patient's oxygen levels, and he asked for an on-board oxygen cylinder. This allowed him to monitor and maintain the woman's saturation levels until they safely landed in Italy about an hour later.

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"The Apple Watch helped me find out the patient had low oxygen saturation," he was quoted as saying to BBC.

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He said he discovered the woman had a history of heart issues, having spoken to her in her native Urdu, reassuring her husband when she initially did not respond to his queries.

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"I used a lot of my learning during this flight on how to use the gadget," Dr Riaz said. "It is a lesson in how we can improve in-flight journeys [with] this sort of emergency (via) a basic gadget which nowadays is easily available."

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Apple recently announced that it will disable the pulse oximeter feature from the new Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watches because of a patent dispute with medical technology company Masim over the software. As per the Apple website, measurements taken with the Blood Oxygen app were not intended for medical use and were only designed for "general fitness and wellness purposes".

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