We've all heard someone say "I'd die without my phone." 99 percent of the time what the person means is "Candy Crush and texting is the only thing that gets me through the day", but what about the other 1 percent. No, not the foes of the Occupy movement. We mean the people whose lives have literally been saved through the deus ex machina, or iOS ex machina, in their pocket. They're real, and they're still alive. Here are some of their stories.
Saved from: Injuries sustained during a earthquake
On January 12, 2010 a massive 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti 16 miles west of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince. The quake devastated the area, killing over 100,000 people and collapsing hundreds of thousands of buildings. In one of those buildings was Dan Woolley, an aid worker from Colorado. Trapped in his hotel Woolley had injuries to his head and leg, with no sign of help coming. Thankfully he had a first aid app on his iPhone.
Using advice from the app Woolley was able to treat his wounds, using his shirt and a sock as bandages to stem the bleeding. When he finally got the bleeding under control Woolley used his phone's camera to take pictures of his surroundings to try and discover a way out. He recounted the story to a NBC affiliate in Miami:
"I took pictures all around me, then I would hold up the back of the camera to me and I could see what the picture was of a little," he said. "I was able to find an elevator in one of the pictures and that is where I decided to hobble to be in a more safe location."
Saved from: A stopped heart caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
We've all made impulse purchases in the App Store, but when La Verne Lutheran High School basketball coach Eric Cooper Sr. purchased the Phone Aid app he had no idea it would be the difference between life and death for one of his students. During a team practice the day after Cooper bought the app, 17-year-old Xavier Jones collapsed on the court. Jones heart had stopped due to complications from a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart's muscle tissue to harden due to limited blood flow.
Thankfully Coach Cooper had Phone Aid, and using CPR tips from the app he was able to revive Jones and keep him safe until paramedics arrived. While coaches are required to be trained in CPR, Cooper was thankful for the app. In an interview the coach told the L.A. Times, "It was really fresh and clear in my brain. We are trained in CPR, but the iPhone app was a stabilizer for us."
An unnamed man in Orange County
Saved from: A suicide attempt
In 2013 Orange County deputies used the iPhone's "Find My Phone" function to locate a man who was missing and in danger. The unnamed man's wife called the police seeking help for her husband who was missing and possibly suicidal. Due to towers in the area, the police were unable to use their search helicopter to find the man. However there was a technological sliver of hope; the man's iPhone.
Utilizing Find My Phone, the police were able to track the man down in just minutes. When they found him at the end of a dirt road he was still alive, but had attempted to take his own life. Thanks to quick thinking and the iPhone's tracking capabilities the man was saved.
Saved from: Heart problems
Andrew Josephson was proud of his family. His grandfather was Dr. Daniel Mason, a cardiologist who produced a three-CD set of digitized heart sounds designed to teach medical students how to detect heart problems. The collection contained hundreds of sounds, some of them from incredibly rare heart problems. In 2011 after graduating with a degree in biochemistry from Lehigh University, Josephson was trying to figure out his future. One day he discovered his grandfather's collection of heart sounds on a family bookshelf and was struck with the idea for an app.
The app was called "Listening to the Heart" and used the iPhone to record a person's heart beat. It then compared the recording to Dr. Mason's collection and used it to identify possible problems. Since he was new to programing Josephson tested the app on his friends and family. All of his friends produced normal results, but when his mother Tina tried the app her tests always came up abnormal, even after multiple tests.
Mrs. Josephson initially ignored the apps results, but during a ski trip she noticed an abnormal shortness of breath. Remembering the iPhone app's results, she went to a cardiologist when she returned home from the trip. The doctor confirmed the app's diagnosis; she had a heart murmur due to mitral valve prolapse and mitral valve regurgitation which would require surgery to fix. Andrew Josephson's app is now available in the App Store for $9.99, and while his mother is proud of her son, she was surprised by the diagnosis. This past February she told ABC News, "The app is something very exciting, though it's not something I wanted to happen to me. I was the daughter of a cardiologist. How could there be anything wrong with my heart?"
Staff Sgt. Shaun Frank
Saved from: Suicide bomber
In 2012 Staff Sgt. Shaun Frank of Utah was serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. One day while helping members of his unit overturn a vehicle, a local teenager walked up and detonated a suicide bomb loaded with ball bearings and shrapnel. Frank was injured, receiving wounds to his thumb, fingers, hands, and legs, but narrowly avoided being killed thanks to the iPhone in his left front pants pocket.
When Frank arrived back at base for treatment he was told the iPhone had probably saved his life, stopping several ball bearings from injuring the major arteries in his leg. When he got back to the U.S. the Staff Sgt. sent his phone to Apple in hopes it would be covered under "accidental damage insurance." The company replaced his phone, but initially told him they'd have to keep his old one. After a three months, and media coverage, Apple finally agreed to give him back his original phone.
So the next time you hear someone arbitrarily whining about how they'd die without their phone remember one simple thing; they may just be right. If they have the right apps or a little good luck having your iPhone might just keep you around to live another day.