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Apple Watch saves 61-year-old Indore man's life; Tim Cook wishes him speedy recovery

BusinessToday.In     October 21, 2020

Cupertino based tech giant Apple's Apple Watch Series 5's electrocardiogram (ECG) feature saved the life of a 61-year-old retired pharmaceutical professional R Rajhans in Indore. The Watch's ECG began alerting him about his irregular heartbeat patterns and helped doctors diagnose the ailment before the condition got worse.

R Rajhans' son, Siddharth gifted him an Apple Watch Series 5 in early 2020 when he has been essentially fit and asymptomatic with no signs of any heart condition. Siddharth, who is currently studying at Harvard University, had a stint with Apple, where he had worked as an iOS and watchOS developer.

However, like many people above the age of 50, R Rajhans suffers from hypertension and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his physical visits to the doctor had reduced. Rajhans had not visited the doctor since March 2020.

Later in March and April, his Apple Watch began alerting Rajhans about his irregular heartbeat patterns called arrhythmia, when he was sleeping. His heart rates were being monitored by the Apple Watch and all data was being stored in the Health app. Moreover, sometime his resting heart rate would also rise to abnormally high, which is the case of tachycardia.

Rajhans and his family consulted a cardiologist on several occurrences and showed them Rajhans' ECG data, which can be exported into a PDF file, allowing the doctor to understand his health better. A cardiologist diagnosed him with mitral regurgitation due to valve failure, which is one of the main reasons behind cardiac arrests. Rajhans underwent open-heart surgery on July 9 where the valve was replaced with an artificial bioprosthetic valve. He is now recovering.

Siddharth, moved by what the Apple Watch did for his father, wrote to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of software engineering at Apple, and thanked him. Federighi asked him to write to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Siddharth did write to Cook and Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President for the environment, policy, and social initiatives.

Siddharth wrote, "Hi Tim & Lisa, I want to congratulate you on the new iPhone 12 line up and the event. It was really great! It has been a pleasure to have been associated with Apple over the years in various ways and I always cherish meeting Tim at WWDC 2016 in person. I wanted to share that my father, Mr R Rajhans underwent an open heart surgery recently. He had a mitral regurgitation or mitral valve failure that was detected in time, thanks to the ECG feature of the Apple Watch. It would have been next to impossible to do this during the ongoing pandemic and the ECG was instrumental in determining A-Fib and arrhythmia in his case, that led to further diagnosis. So, thank you for all that you do!"

Tim Cook replied in a letter thanking him and said, "Siddharth, Thank you for sharing this. I am happy to note that your father received medical attention in time and I hope he is feeling better now. Our team will connect with you. Tim".

Siddharth, who is now aiming to contribute to Apple Watch's this feature so that it can influence more users, said, "I am developing an app for the Apple Watch that brings ECG, oximeter and pedometer on the same interface. Federighi has praised this idea, as it brings the power of the treadmill test to the Apple watch. I would be doing this free of cost as a goodwill gesture soon."

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