Apple Watch fall detection saves elderly woman, leads to lung cancer diagnosis

Fall detection saved Raylene Hackenworth's life. Image credit WFTS Tampa Bay

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An elderly woman credits Apple Watch fall detection for saving her life by automatically calling 911 — which ultimately led to discovering she had lung cancer.

The Apple Watch is frequently credited with saving people's lives thanks to its integrated health systems like heart rate sensors and fall detection. Raylene Hackenwerth of Saint Petersburg, Florida fell hard and was nearly unconscious, but the Apple Watch dialed 911 for her.

According to WFTS, one of the paramedics said that a distress call from a watch is unique. The Apple Watch sent its geolocation when it called 911 to give paramedics a location to head to.

After Hackenwerth was taken to the hospital, a mass was discovered in her lungs. It was cancerous and she is now awaiting treatment.

"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 told WFTS.

The Apple Watch had been a gift from her son at Christmas so she could track her workouts. They had no idea that there was a fall detection feature, which is enabled by default if the user is 55 or older.

Fall detection has been credited many times with saving people's lives, sometimes more than once. Other times the heart rate sensors have warned wearers of potential health issues due to high or low heart rate, leading to life saving medical intervention.