Metro Morning

After almost losing his own leg, he built an app to give patients more info

A harrowing medical experience led Zack Fisch to create a mobile app that helps patients care for themselves after leaving the hospital.

Mobile app Dash MD caught the attention of CBC judges at Resolve TO

A harrowing medical experience led Zack Fisch to create an app that puts more information in the hands of patients. (CBC)

When he was 21, Torontonian Zack Fisch came close to losing his leg.  

After coming home from the hospital with his broken leg in a cast, he noticed a tingling feeling and pain.

"I just didn't act on it, I didn't do anything," he said, explaining that he assumed it was part of the healing process.

Unbeknownst to him, his cast had been put on too tight and he had developed something called compartment syndrome, dangerously decreasing blood flow to his leg.

"As a result of not having proper instructions as I was being prepared to leave the hospital … I almost had an amputation," he told CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

That was the moment he came up with the idea for his app, Dash MD, one of two entries to win CBC Toronto's 2017 pitch competition.

Why is Dash MD a winner?

Fisch and his app caught the attention of CBC Toronto's judges at Resolve TO, a festival for entrepreneurs and startups.

He had just 60 seconds to explain to them that Dash MD is a mobile app for patients to download after being discharged from the hospital where they can find detailed aftercare instructions and information about what symptoms to watch out for.

The Dash MD interface makes to-do lists for people discharged from the hospital so they know how to care for themselves and their conditions during recovery. (

When Fisch was leaving the hospital, he hadn't been able to absorb what the nurse had told him about how to care for his leg in a cast, explaining that he was "stressed, tired, and coming off of morphine."

If he'd had Dash MD on his phone, he said, "I would have understood what to look for and what the warning signs were that something was wrong in my particular circumstance."

Dash MD is currently in use at Markham-Stouffeville hospital, with plans to expand to Michael Garron hospital (formerly Toronto East General) and Southlake Regional Health Centre.

"We want to launch in as many hospitals as we can," Fisch said.  

With files from Metro Morning