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O.C. Firm Revives Worn-Out Resuscitation Manikins

April 01, 1993|SUSAN CHRISTIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

COSTA MESA — The scene looks like a cross between a hospital operating room and a house of horrors.

On a long table, three inanimate bodies await surgery. A detached head, its mouth agape, hangs on the far wall. Beside it, blank faces dangle from a hook.

Welcome to the Haydens' workplace.

Gary Hayden and his parents are in the business of reviving Resusci Annes, the manikins used in cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes. Their Costa Mesa warehouse brims with plastic torsos in need of organ transplants--as well as new dolls fresh off the boat from their Norwegian manufacturer.

"This one doesn't have a strong enough pulse," said Gary Hayden, pausing at a "patient's" bedside. She is the fanciest Resusci Anne model, complete with a throbbing Adam's apple that teaches students how to feel for a heartbeat.

Hayden's father, Phil, founded Educational A.V. in 1968. Then a firefighter for the Newport Beach Fire Department, he figured the medical supply business was a logical extension to a profession focused on saving lives.

Following the pattern of many small companies, Educational A.V. revved up in the garage of the Haydens' Newport Beach house--where it remained parked for the next two decades. Hayden originally sold a variety of audiovisual aids--books, slide projectors, chalkboards--to hospitals and nursing schools. After he retired from the Fire Department in 1978 and Educational A.V. became his full-time job, he homed in on the company's biggest product line, Resusci Anne.

Six years ago, at the age of 63, Hayden decided to sell the business and retire altogether. One reason was that his wife wanted her house back. "We could never get away from work," said Mona Hayden, the company's bookkeeper since its inception.

Their son, then an ad salesman, offered to take the company off their hands--and out of their garage. He bought it and became its actual owner, though his parents still help run it.

Gary Hayden, 32, grew up in the business. As a child, he used spare body parts for Halloween pranks. When he was a teen, his father taught him how to repair the dummies.

Since the younger Hayden took over, Educational A.V.'s revenue has increased about 10% a year, he said. "He's a great salesman," Phil Hayden boasted.

For 1992, the company had revenue of $650,000. The manikins range in price from $250 to $3,000 each, depending on degree of sophistication.

Educational A.V. has more than 500 regular customers, including the Orange County Red Cross, Kaiser Permanente and UC San Diego. While a number of medical supply distributors in California sell Resusci Annes, Educational A.V. is one of only a few that specialize in the product.

"I've known Phil Hayden since he was a fire chief," said Ann Zanelli, director of the emergency medical technology program at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. "The Haydens are incredibly reliable and cost effective. They will show us ways to update our manikins rather than invest money in new ones."

Resusci Anne and her offspring--Resusci Junior and Resusci Baby--are made by Laerdal Medical Corp. in Stavanger, Norway. Laerdal devised the life-size doll--equipped with inflatable plastic "lungs" and an internal spring that mimics the rib cage during chest compressions--in 1960. The now-famous Anne has been used in CPR classes around the world to teach mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Gary Hayden said there's a reason that the adult manikin is Resusci Anne and not Resusci Andy. "The thinking is that women are more comfortable blowing into a woman's mouth than men would be blowing into a man's mouth," he said. "Women realize it's just a piece of plastic. We men haven't evolved yet."

Though Hayden no longer tucks Resusci Anne limbs into mailboxes on Halloween night, he has inadvertently caused shock waves with manikin leftovers. After repairing dummies at a hospital--he won't say which one--Hayden tossed old heads and arms in the dumpster on site.

"The trash guys saw the body parts and called the police, who then converged on the hospital," Hayden said.

Humorous moments aside, the Haydens know that Resusci Anne performs a valuable role. While he was a firefighter, Phil Hayden employed CPR in the rescue of about two dozen people, he estimates.

"That's why I like working with Resusci Anne," he said. "She's saved a lot of lives."

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