By now many have heard the amazing story of how Dan Woolley, a Colorado man in Haiti, used the Pocket First Aid & CPR app to help survive severe injuries he sustained in the earthquake.  We highlighted this story last week when it broke, and we’ve always thought Pocket First Aid & CPR was a great app when it was first introduced in the summer of last year, and we even wrote about it back then.

At that time we put it in our “Apps for Patients” category not only because of the useful information it provides, but because it’s backed by the American Heart Association, the organization that sets the standard of care on first aid procedures. This app review will focus on the features of the app that helped Dan Woolley survive the injuries he sustained during the earthquake.

Some background on Dan Woolley’s story per CNN:

“I had an app that had pre-downloaded all this information about treating wounds. So I looked up excessive bleeding and I looked up compound fracture,” Woolley told CNN.

The application on his iPhone is filled with information about first aid and CPR from the American Heart Association. “So I knew I wasn’t making mistakes,” Woolley said. “That gave me confidence to treat my wounds properly.”

Trapped in the ruins of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, he used his shirt to bandage his leg, and tied his belt around the wound. To stop the bleeding on his head, he firmly pressed a sock to it.


When you open the app you’re presented with a screen that shows you acute conditions.  This isn’t a long list, and the app covers the most common acute conditions someone would encounter, such as CPR, choking, burns, and more.  There’s also a tab to input your personal medical information, where you can enter medications, blood type, emergency contacts, physicians, allergies, and insurance information.
pic 2 pic 3
The overall user interface of the app is clean and simple, and could possible be used in acute settings.  The text information usually doesn’t take up more space than the screen of the iPhone.  The information is short, concise, and to the point.  The app also contains pictures and videos.  This multimedia will take up a healthy 80.5 MB of space on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Dan Woolley used this app to treat a compound fracture he suffered to his leg.  He most likely went to the “Bone, Joint and Muscles” section, then chose the “Sprains and Fractures” option.  After clicking through two pages of basic information, you’re shown a page with red hyperlinks.  These hyperlinks will guide you to key information if it pertains to you.

For his example, the two key hyperlinks are “signs of shock”, and “open wound”.  The open wound section takes you to a page containing quick hitting measures you should perform if you’re bleeding.  There’s also a great video showing you how to to stop the bleeding.
pic 4 pic 5

What I liked about this app:
  • This app was made in conjunction with the American Heart Association(AHA), the venerable organization in charge of coming up with the standard of care for CPR and other acute health issues.  Those of us in the medical field get our ACLS training through the AHA as well.
  • Nice user interface, application is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Depending on comfort of use, could be used in acute setting.
  • Pictures and Videos are very useful.

pic 6 pic 8

What I didn’t like so much and improvements that could be made:
  • Don’t see the point of the personal health information section.  Granted, this is optional, but without a security lock on the phone anyone could have your key personal health information if your phone gets lost.  Obviously, putting a lock on this info would render the feature useless, but I don’t think many emergency departments (ER) will be going through your phone looking for your First Aid app.
  • pic 7

  • Would have liked to see more pictures and videos.  When we’re taught ACLS in the medical field we get a chance to see the great breath of multimedia the AHA has on acute care training.  Granted, additional multimedia would have made the application size, 80.5 MB, larger.

pic 9 pic 10


If you want an app that you could possibly use in acute health situations, Pocket First Aid & CPR is the one to have.  You never know when such an app can be useful, as seen with this app’s remarkable use in Haiti.

The best part of this app is it’s backed by the American Heart Association.  The App Store doesn’t have any medical standards when it comes to healthcare or medical apps, resulting in a litany of poorly made applications with inaccurate content.  Going with the trusted American Heart Association makes having the Pocket First Aid & CPR app even easier.



Additional Pictures:

pic 11 pic 12 pic 13