New York

Smartwatch Alerts New York Man of Health Crisis, Ends Up Saving His Life

What to Know

  • New York resident William Monzidelis' life was saved in part thanks to a notification from his smartwatch
  • Monzidelis, 32, received an alarming notification via his smartwatch — his heart rate was at a distressing level
  • Monzidelis rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for an erupted ulcer

The growing obsession with self-medical monitoring devices could actually pay off in unexpected ways. Just ask New York resident William Monzidelis, whose life was saved in part thanks to a notification from his Apple Watch.

The 32-year-old Monzidelis was working at his family bowling alley business, Bowlerland, on April 3, when he became dizzy and went to the bathroom, where he started bleeding. He soon received an alarming notification via his smartwatch telling him to seek medical attention immediately.

Monzidelis remembered that when he came out from the bathroom and told his mother, Nancy, he wasn’t feeling well, she said he “looked like a ghost.”

Taking his symptoms and the notification he received seriously, the Westchester resident had his mother drive him immediately to the hospital.

“I was seizing in the car and bleeding all over the place, from my mouth, my rectum,” Monzidelis said, recounting his harrowing experience.

During the half-hour drive to the hospital in which he was going in and out of consciousness, Monzidelis ended up losing nearly 80 percent of his blood. When they arrived at the hospital, medical personnel ultimately discovered he was suffering from an erupted ulcer. Monzidelis’ blood loss was so severe, he said he had to receive a transfusion upon his arrival in order to undergo surgery.

“I lost so much blood that I needed a transfusion for the anesthesia to travel to my brain and put me out for the surgery,” he said.

Doctors believe that if he hadn’t received his smartwatch notification when he did, he would have not survived his medical emergency because he wouldn't have paid attention to his symptoms, especially since he was a healthy individual up to that point.

Monzidelis agreed: “I would have been working in my office and they would have found me dead,” he said, adding that he is “very lucky" and "feeling like a million bucks" since the life-threatening and frightening incident.

Monzidelis hopes his story will lead those who are skeptical about technology to embrace it.

“Hopefully my story can push them to use technology,” he said. “In my case, it was like a little angel watching me. It really was a magical device.”

Stories about smartwatches alerting wearers of their health or when they should seek medical attention is not a novel occurrence.

In Tampa, Florida, 18-year-old Deanna Recktenwald says she was saved thanks to her smartwatch notifying her of a dangerous increase in her heart rate, which topped 190 beats per minute, while she was at church. The watch alerted her to seek immediate medical attention. When she did, she discovered her kidneys were failing.

“I was a healthy athlete at that point,” Recktenwald told the Today show during an interview, adding that she “did not expect it to tell me that my heart rate was high at all.”

Recktenwald says she is lucky to be alive, “because I was supposed to die.”

Massachusetts student athlete Paul Houle also says his life was saved because of his smart watch. One day, while at football practice Houle said he felt odd. Hours later, he was still not back to normal and started experiencing severe pains. When he checked his smartwatch’s heart monitor, the device said his resting heart rate was 145 beats per minute.

Houle ended up going to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolisis — a rare but serious condition prompted by working out too hard and having muscle tissue break down and enter the bloodstream.

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