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iPhone app helped U.S. man survive Haiti quake

Trapped for 65 hours in the lobby of his Port-au-Prince hotel, Dan Woolley used information gleaned from an iPhone first-aid app to make a tourniquet for his fractured leg and stanch the bleeding from his head wound.

"I feel like God gave this to me to help save my life," Woolley says of his camera.
NBC, Screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

An American filmmaker trapped under rubble in last week's Haiti earthquake credits an iPhone app with helping him survive.

Stuck for 65 hours in the lobby of his Port-au-Prince hotel, Dan Woolley turned to an iPhone first-aid app he'd downloaded to look up treatment of excessive bleeding and compound fracture. He then used his shirt to make a tourniquet for a gash in his leg and a sock to stanch the bleeding from his head wound.

According to an MSNBC story on Woolley's ordeal, the Pocket First Aid & CPR app (created by the American Heart Association and Jive Media) also instructed him not to fall asleep if he felt he was going into shock, so he set his phone's alarm to go off every 20 minutes.

Woolley, 39, was in Haiti working with the Christian ministry Compassion International to make a film about the impact of poverty in the Caribbean nation. He and a colleague had just returned to the Hotel Montana after a day of filming when the 7.0 quake hit January 12. His colleague, David Hames, is still missing.

Woolley says he used his digital SLR to assess his injuries in the dark and light his way through the wreckage to an elevator shaft, where he took refuge until being located by a team of French rescuers. While trapped and unsure of his fate, he scribbled goodbye notes to his wife and two young sons in a notebook. "I was in a big accident," he wrote. "Don't be upset at God. He always provides for his children, even in hard times. I'm still praying that God will get me out, but He may not. But He will always take care of you."

Woolley returned home to Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday after spending time in a Miami hospital.

Health-related iPhone apps, of course, are plentiful these days. Among the many we've covered are a stethoscope app, a stress-busting app, a pet first-aid app, and a Merck medical manual app for diagnosing health issues on the go. But as for how such apps are applied, we've never heard of anything quite as dramatic as this.

Update, Thursday at 1:30 p.m. PST: We have confirmed that the first-aid app Woolley used is Pocket First Aid & CPR.

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