Losing my daughter Eliza on her 26th birthday was the single most devastating event of my life. I walked around in a daze trying to make sense of the senselessness.
I went ice-fishing one day – alone. Sitting by myself I had a conversation in my head with Eliza, it went something like this: Eliza I know that you are using, please don’t use it’s dangerous. Eliza replied I’m trying dad, but its hard. I wish I could tell you that I won’t but I can’t. Then I said Eliza if you get in trouble and need my help please call me. I heard her voice in my head – I would have called you for help dad – but I couldn’t move.
I am a computer programmer, I make things work. I am a father of five, I fix things that are broken. Then, on the ice, I had an epiphany! I built an iPhone app before, I could write one that would have monitored Eliza and texted me, called 911, texted her sisters, brother and her mother so we could get someone there in time to help her!
I worked on the idea based on heart rate and pitched it to the Opioid Task Force. Ruth Potee was there, she said it was a great concept, but I needed to track something other than just heart rate if we were to get EMS to the scene in time. So I started researching sp02 – blood oxygen – to see how I could monitor that inexpensively.
I found a company in Canada that made a fingertip monitor for $29 and plugged in to the iPhone with a cable. I immediately ordered one, downloaded the software and tested it.
Now all I needed was the magic number – when to call 911.
I was getting somewhere!