My iPad and my hip fracture

Dear Apple:

I’ve been a happy iPad2 owner since March 2011, but I never fully appreciated its value until I recently broke my hip in a bad fall and required subsequent hospitalization.

I am a physician, so I had already been using my iPad for my work, reading PDFs of medical articles, communicating with my colleagues via e-mail, etc.  But when I broke my hip in an accident a few days ago, the iPad became my lifeline to the outside world.

Because I had my iPad with me at the time of the accident, I was able to immediately notify my friends and family of what had happened once I arrived in the ER.

In the ER, the iPad also helped keep my spirits up as I checked e-mail, followed my friends on Twitter and Facebook, and followed the regular world news.  When my orthopedic surgeon presented my treatment options to me, he also e-mailed me some relevant medical literature in the form of PDF files which I could digest at my own pace on the iPad. And of course, I was also able to perform Google searches on my various surgery options, the complication rates, postoperative care requirements, etc.

Because of the specific nature of my fracture, I had to choose between two treatment options, each with its own pros and cons.  I found it enormously helpful to be able to gather and review the relevant medical information literally “at my fingertips”.  Because of the iPad, I was able to more quickly make an informed treatment decision that I was comfortable with.

I did briefly leave my iPad with my wife during the surgery itself, but she gave it back to me immediately after the surgery.  Other than that, it did not leave my side while in the hospital.

While in the hospital after my surgery, I used the iPad to read eBooks, check my e-mail, surf the internet, and keep up my regular blogging.  It was a real morale booster to be able to continue as much of my regular online routine as possible, despite my impaired physical condition.

My wife also had her own iPad with her while I was hospitalized, which allowed her to update our friends and family in real time on my condition, as well as keep her occupied while I was asleep or in surgery.

And now that I’m at home recovering, my iPad is still at my side!

For someone such as myself with limited physical mobility, the iPad2 with its light weight and long battery life was perfect.  A laptop computer simply would not have worked while in the hospital.  The iPad was literally an emotional, medical, and physical lifeline for me during a difficult time in my life.

I know Apple has been in the news lately because of Steve Jobs’ decision to step down as CEO. I just wanted to take this opportunity to publicly thank Mr. Jobs and Apple for creating such a wonderful, life-enhancing product.

Paul Hsieh is a radiologist and co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine.

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  • http://drrjv.wordpress.com/ drrjv

    I find myself using the iPad more and more. It is just easy. Always near by, instant on, long battery life, does a lot of what I need to do. Meanwhile, laptop collecting dust!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Koniver/100001463176810 Craig Koniver

     Yes, the iPad can make life not only more efficient, but also more enjoyable! Good luck healing quickly!

  • Anonymous

    I had my iPhone at my fingertips when I had a heart bypass last year.  As you said, it was truly my lifeline outside the building.  My son updated friends via text messages from my phone until I got out of ICU.  Once you have that experience, it makes it hard to change technology.  iPad is my next investment, but I do hope to not need it in the hospital!  Good luck healing! 

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