Woman Relied on Parrot before Starting OSA Treatment

Jan 7, 2013

An Englishwoman, who was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in 2009 says she used to rely on her African Grey Parrot, Domanic, to wake her up if she fell asleep in a dangerous position! Barbara Smith-Schafer says that before beginning OSA treatment, her pet parrot would wake her periodically while she slept. The parrot would mimic her snoring, flap his wings and bite her shoulder if she stopped breathing, waking her up from what could have been a deadly situation.

Smith-Schafer, who used to be embarrassed by the bird’s mocking, calls the bird her ‘knight in shining armour’, but has since begun Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment, which uses pressurized air to hold the airway open while she sleeps, eliminating the risk of health complications and allowing her a more restful night’s sleep without constant interruption from Domanic.

According to Michael Oko, a doctor in a nearby hospital, 1 in 5 snorers are snoring because of OSA, which can eventually lead to strain on the heart, among other things if left untreated. Oko encourages the benefits of CPAP therapy to improve a higher quality of life, especially for those without a parrot to watch out for them.