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Masimo’s CEO praises Apple Watch pulse oximeter for saving the life of an airline passenger

The pulse oximeter may be disabled on newly purchased Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models in the U.S. due to a recent Exclusion Order issued by the International Trade Commission (ITC). However, on older units purchased before the order, the feature still works. This includes previous Apple Watch models such as the Apple Watch 6. The pulse oximeter measures the oxygen saturation in a person’s red blood cells, with a normal reading falling between 95% to 100%. A reading below 92% could indicate hypoxia, a condition where the body tissues do not receive enough oxygen.

Joe Kiani, the CEO of Masimo, the company that brought about the patent infringement suit that led to the ITC’s Exclusion Order, commented that consumers should avoid using the pulse oximeter on the Apple Watch. Despite this, the feature recently saved the life of a woman in her 70s who was feeling short of breath on a Ryanair flight en route from Birmingham, U.K. to Verona, Italy. Thankfully, an NHS doctor onboard the flight, Dr. Rashid Riaz, borrowed an Apple Watch from the crew and used the pulse oximeter to determine the passenger’s low oxygen saturation. The doctor provided oxygen to the passenger until the flight landed in Italy, with medical staff assisting her off the plane upon arrival.

Reflecting on the experience, Dr. Riaz emphasized the importance of having a device like the Apple Watch on flights to handle emergencies. He highlighted how this simple gadget can make a significant difference in saving someone’s life during critical situations.

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