Teenager says Apple Watch saved her life


The Apple watch is a popular device for making calls or sending texts while on the go. Most people don’t expect the high-tech watch to provide life-saving medical information.

But that is exactly what it did for Tampa Bay teenager Deanna Recktenwald, who is thankful for the device on her wrist after suffering a scary medical episode at The Crossing Church in Brandon, Florida.

“I didn’t know what was going on at all and it was just out of the blue,” Recktenwald said.

A warning appeared notifying the 18-year-old that her resting heart rate hit 190 beats per minute.

Apple watch heart rate photo
Flickr | integratedchange

“It was alarming that the watch was telling us to seek medical attention,” said Stacey Recktenwald, Deanna’s mother. “I didn’t even know that it had the capability of giving us that alert.”

Stacey is a registered nurse and did not initially question the accuracy of the watch’s reading.


Staff at a walk-in clinic confirmed the teen’s rapid heartbeat.

“I was surprised, it was right on,” said Stacey.

The Recktenwalds said the watch saved Deanna’s life.

After arriving at the emergency room, doctors at Tampa General Hospital soon discovered Deanna suffers from chronic kidney disease.

Both kidneys are only operating at 20 percent and she will likely require a future transplant.


“[I] instantly started to pray and thank God for her having that watch,” said Tom Recktenwald, Deanna’s father.

The high-tech Christmas gift came to the rescue, uncovering a serious health problem that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

ambulance photo
Getty Images | Scott Olson

“Now that we have some answers to why this is happening we can prevent something major from happening down the road,” said Deanna.

Stacey recently wrote Apple to thank the tech giant for its life-saving feature.

Apple Watch - Activity Glance
Flickr | William Hook

“She had no symptoms of kidney issues or any other medical issues,” Stacey wrote. “I honestly feel that your Apple Watch has saved my daughter’s life.”


Stacey went on, writing that knowing her daughter will be wearing the Apple watch gives her some peace of mind as a mother.

“Now I can send her off to college and know that she can monitor her HR and seek attention if it alarms her again,” she wrote.

CEO Tim Cook responded by thanking the Florida family for sharing their story.


“Thanks for sharing her story,” he wrote. “This inspires us to keep pushing.”

apple logo photo
Getty Images | Eric Thayer

In a matter of weeks after the Florida teen’s incident, another Apple watch user also credited the device with saving his life. William Monzidelis was at work when an alert on his watch indicated his heart rate was at an alarming level, prompting him to seek medical care.

His mother drove him to the hospital, where doctors discovered Monzidelis had a ruptured ulcer, which led to significant blood loss. He had to undergo a blood transfusion and surgery.


“I would have been working in my office and they would have found me dead,” Monzidelis told NBC.

Monzidelis is recovering from the incident and doing well. He hopes his story inspires others to wear an Apple watch.

“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.”

apple watch photo
Getty Images | Stephen Lam

Has your Apple watch clued you into any important information about your health?

Written by Ryan Smith for WMAR.

Additional reporting by Simplemost staff. 

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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