The Apple Watch’s health features are once again being credited with helping save a life and ultimately detect a much bigger health issue. Raylene Hackenwerth, a 71-year-old woman in St. Petersburg, Florida, told her story to WFTS Tampa Bay, detailing how the Apple Watch fall detection feature helped her in a moment of need…

Apple Watch fall detection to the rescue

Earlier this month, Hackenwerth suffered a fall while she was alone, but the fall detection feature on the Apple Watch was able to notify her son, Jason, and alert first responders. The report explains:

It was the Apple Watch Jason had gotten his mother for Christmas for her to track her workouts. But this activity was unplanned. The 71-year-old grandmother had fallen, hard. The watch detected the fall and called 9-1-1 on its own. Joshua Stevens was one of the paramedics who responded, and he said a distress call from a watch is pretty unique.

“It sends the geolocation, the latitude and longitude, so I would say it’s a pretty useful feature,” said Stevens.

When first responders arrived, they found Hackenwerth “nearly unconscious and very banged up.” She was transported to the local hospital, where doctors “discovered a mass in her lungs that was cancerous.”

“If it hadn’t been for the falling and the Apple Watch calling them, I wouldn’t even know this was there and maybe by the time it had got found in the future, it would be too late,” Hackenwerth recounted in the interview.

Hackenwerth is now awaiting treatment and using her situation to voice her appreciation for the Apple Watch and its fall detection feature, which she and her son “didn’t even know the watch had” before this experience.

Apple Watch Series 4 and later include a built-in fall detection feature. It’s turned off by default if you’re under 65, but anyone can turn it on from the Watch app on the iPhone.

The feature works by intelligently detecting when a sudden fall occurs, automatically calling emergency services if the person doesn’t dismiss the alert within one minute of falling. If the person’s emergency contact information is filled out, that contact will be notified with a text message and a map of the watch’s location at the time of the fall.

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Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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