How wearable tech saved a local girl’s life

For 12-year-old Imani Miles, her Apple Watch is more than an accessory. That’s what she said saved her life.

At night, Imani’s mom, Jessica Kitchen of Flushing, noticed her daughter’s Apple Watch beeping constantly, alerting Imani that she had an unusually high heart rate.

“It’s really weird because it’s never happened before,” Kitchen said. “It keeps going out.”

Worried, Kitchen took her daughter to the hospital, where doctors removed Imani’s appendix to treat appendicitis. That’s when they learned she had a neuroendocrine tumor in her appendix, which is rare in children.

“if [the watch] It didn’t happen, and I’ll probably wait and take her for the next few days,” Kitchen said.

By the time doctors discovered Imani’s tumor, the cancer had spread to other parts of her body, requiring her to undergo surgery to remove it.

“Wearables play a vital role in supporting people to build better healthy behaviors,” said João Bocas, a wearables expert and one of the world’s top thought leaders in wearable technology. “Wearables won’t be a miracle by themselves, but combined with human effort, they can improve well-being.”

According to The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, as of 2019, wearable technology has grown into a $1 billion business. Kitchen said her initial feeling was thanks to the watch for alerting her to Imani’s condition before it was too late.

“It could have been worse if she didn’t have that watch,” Kitchen said.

Imani’s surgery at CS Mott Children’s Hospital was a success and she is recovering at home as of press time. She wears an Apple Watch every day, and she and her mother now preach the benefits of wearable technology.

This story is from the October issue of “Moving Medicine Forward” 2022 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.