iPhone Medical App Saved Filmmaker’s Life in Haiti Earthquake

Sunday, January 24, 2010
By OP Editor

Apple iPhone or iPod touch can save lives, with the right app. U.S. filmmaker Dan Woolley was shooing a documentary about the Haiti poverty when the major earthquake struck. He was injured and trapped for 65 hours, but he was able to perform first-aid to treat his wounds, using instructions from an iPhone App.

iPhone Medical App Saved Filmmaker Life in Haiti Earthquake

In the recent Haiti earthquake, Dan Woolley was injured by falling rubble from his hotel. He suffered a bleeding head wound and a fractured leg.

Trapped with no medical help, he turned to his iPhone.

Using Pocket First Aid & CPR [iTunes link], he was able to stabilize his injuries. With his iPhone app, he looked up treatment for excessive bleeding, compound fracture and how to diagnose shock. Following the App’s advice, to prevent going into shock, he set his iPhone’s alarm clock to go off every 20 minutes.

Apple iPhone App Helps save filmmaker life

Dan’s iPhone helped him survive the natural disaster by turning the iPhone owner into an amateur medic.

He was rescued 65 hours later without major complications from his injuries. Dan Woolley has a @mac.com address, so looks like he’s got a Mac too. Good choice with the Mac and the iPhone!

Pocket First Aid & CPR Apple Store App [iTunes link]
via iPhone helps Haiti victim treat wounds, survive in rubble [macnn]


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Tags: Apple, Inspiration, iPhone, iPod touch, Medical, Think Different

13 Responses to “iPhone Medical App Saved Filmmaker’s Life in Haiti Earthquake”

  1. Art Vandelay

    Ok, this is a cool story and all that, but isn’t the headline a bit much? The guy had a bump on his head and a broken leg, but you breathlessly claim that the app “Saved Filmmaker’s Life in Haiti Earthquake.”

    His life wasn’t in danger, so it wasn’t “saved.” If he was lucid enough to reach for the iPhone in the first place, he obviously didn’t have any serious head injuries, which would’ve been the only threat to his life. A broken leg is a broken leg, and not likely to cause death.

    What saved Mr. Woolley’s life are the brave rescuers who found him and pulled him out of the rubble — but I don’t see them mentioned anywhere here.

    • Voice

      “he looked up treatment for excessive bleeding, compound fracture and how to diagnose shock.”

      The three things he looked up could easily result in death over a 65 hour period. (Like the period of time between his injuries and when he was discovered and rescued.)

      Maybe you don’t know what a compound fracture is. That’s when you’ve got bone sticking through your skin, hence the excessive bleeding. In the case of a leg, you’ve got decent odds of that bone tearing an artery or major return vein, either of which can result in bleeding to death. Just going into shock in that sort of scenario can result in death.

    • Mute

      And if his compound fracture had done the sort of damage you speculate he would have been better off with the Last iRites app. It’s also unlikely that someone going into shock would be prevented from going doing so merely by a cell phone alarm going off every couple hours. What the app did was make him feel like he had some control of the situation, that he wasn’t completely helpless and doomed. Of course he actually had no control of the situation and was in fact completely helpless, but the illusion of competent action kept him in good spirits which almost certainly enabled him to hardily weather the 65-hour ordeal until rescue and come out of it as well as he did.

      So the app worked. Just not in the way you’d expect.

    • @Mute

      Performing first-aid is an illusion? Wow. Sounds like someone needs a basic lesson on the human body. Here’s a short version, humans can’t live without blood, and he was having excessive bleeding.

    • Mute

      @ OP Editor

      As an “editor”, you’d be better off focusing your efforts on proofreading your blog than insulting readers who know more than you. About medicine, for one. But I suspect lots of other things, too. Try starting with the first line of this story.

      Also, read the story to which you linked. Even they, just another Mac news site, liberally use the term “allegedly.” Fact is, we don’t know his bleeding was excessive. He consulted the iPhone app regarding excessive bleeding. It was a head wound. Head wounds bleed like crazy, but usually not for long, as our human bodies, of which you contend I have vastly insufficient knowledge, manufacture these compounds called clotting factors and… Oh, never mind.

    • @Mute,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, that site uses the term “allegedly.” They use that term when they don’t want to confirm the information. However, all the material posted here are fact checked to the best of our abilities, which goes beyond looking at just one article.

      Here’s the fact:

      Wired reported Dan Woolley, posting under his online handle Webguydan: “Consulted this app, while trapped under Hotel Montana in Haiti earthquake, to treat excessive bleeding and shock. Helped me stay alive till I was rescued 64 hours later.”

      Note “helped me stay alive.” So, yes, we do fact check.

  2. How on earth did he find the power to keep an iPhone going for over 2 days?

  3. KindredMac

    With battery life like that he must have a 1 gen iPhone! I know my 1st Gen gets a lot better battery life than my wife’s 3G.

  4. Art Vandelay

    @OP Editor,

    This isn’t about whether or not his actions were “alleged” or not — it’s about simple journalistic accuracy and integrity. Your headline is not accurate — period, full stop. And frankly, your lack of understanding of the term “allegedly” is stunning. It doesn’t mean, “we didn’t want to confirm the information.” It means, “we’re not able to confirm that this is the full story, so we’ll add a qualifier to make it clear that we’re taking the source’s story at face value — but be aware that it may not be the whole story, or even part of it.” Every journalist at any reputable publication will tell you that “allegedly” is one of the most important words they use, because it draws a clear line between fact and hearsay.

    This entire debate is centered around your insistence that the headline on this story is accurate, when in fact, Woolley himself says that the app “HELPED me stay alive TILL I WAS RESCUED 64 hours later.” It didn’t “SAVE HIS LIFE.” It ALLEGEDLY helped him stay alive until the rescuers, who ACTUALLY SAVED HIS LIFE, arrived.

    Either you’re a news source, or you’re a tabloid. Pick one.

  5. Art Vandelay

    @OP Editor,

    It’s apparent that you’re choosing cherry-pick your evidence here, so I’ll be on my way after this comment and leave you alone to be as sensationalist as you want.

    You actually made my point for me by posting those links. Note that the NBC Miami headline says, “Earthquake Survivor Calls iPhone a Life Saver,” with the operative words being “Earthquake Survivor Calls…” They’re reporting that he SAID the phone saved his life, which is the same thing as saying the phone ALLEGEDLY saved his life. You, on the other hand, insist on screaming that the iPhone SAVED HIS LIFE, without even allowing for the possibility that it merely HELPED him get through the 64-hour ordeal, and that he may have actually survived without it.

    As for the ZDNet link, what’s your point? Someone else out there is choosing sensationalist headlines, so you should too? There are plenty of examples of poor journalism on the Web, but that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to join that group. Unfortunately, you seem to have chosen to.

    And I’m not even going to bother countering your “Kids’ Health” link — are you implying that he DEFINITELY would have died from blood loss if not for the miraculous app? Get real.

    It’s no wonder people mock us as fanboys, especially when publications like this, which are dedicated to discussing Apple products, insist on schlock reporting instead of sticking to actual facts.


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