By Mark Memmott

This story's been getting a lot of attention in recent hours. Here's how Wired magazine begins its version of a tale about modern technology coming through in a crisis:

U.S. filmmaker Dan Woolley was shooting a documentary about the impact of poverty in Haiti when the earthquake struck. He could have died, but he ultimately survived with the help of an iPhone first-aid app that taught him to treat his wounds.

Woolley, from Colorado Springs, was trapped for three days in the rubble of his Port-au-Prince hotel. He says he was able to move around a little, using a light on his camera to illuminate his surroundings. And because he had downloaded a medical app on to his iPhone, he says he could do some self-diagnosis and treatment of a badly injured leg and cut on his head.

He talked about the experience with WTVJ-TV in Miami.

"I had my iPhone with me and I had a medical app on there, so I was able to look up treatment of excessive bleeding and compound fracture," Woolley said. "So I used my shirt to tie my leg and a sock on the back of my head. And later used it for other things, like to diagnose shock":

The app is Pocket First Aid & CPR from Jive Media. I checked with Jive founder Doug Kent about it, and he e-mailed that "all of the content is loaded upon installation, including the videos and illustrations. Internet access is not needed to access any of the features."

For this old "print reporter," though, one of the most poignant parts of Woolley's story is that while he was trapped he wrote notes to his young sons. As KUSA-TV in Denver reports, Woolley wasn't sure he would ever see them again.

But did he tap those notes out on this iPhone? No. They're in a good, old-fashioned, now-bloodstained paper journal. "Josh, choose the right path every day," he told one son, in part. To Nathan, he wrote, "I'm sorry I wasn't there to get to know you."

A sad note: Woolley's colleague, David Hames of Colorado Springs, is still missing. The men were working on a documentary about the Christian child advocacy group Compassion International.

Woolley, by the way, tweets here.

For more of NPR's coverage of the crisis in Haiti, click here.

If you're looking for information on charities doing work in Haiti, click here.

categories: Accidents and Disasters, Foreign News, Haiti, Technology

3:01 - January 21, 2010