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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / BIOTECHNOLOGY

Hoag Hospital Donates Portable Defibrillators to 10 Golf Courses

April 10, 2001|MARC BALLON

Portable defibrillators, devices that deliver an electrical shock to restore normal heartbeats, can now be found at 10 golf courses in Orange County.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach has donated the portable defibrillators, the same types of machines cropping up at malls, airports and other public sites.

About 220,000 Americans die following cardiac arrests each year. Access to early defibrillation could save 50,000 lives annually, according to the American Heart Assn.

Unlike the cumbersome, complex models in ambulances and elsewhere, portable defibrillators are relatively easy to use and require little training.

Hoag randomly chose the courses, which include Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach, Aliso Viejo Golf Club and Mile Square Golf Course in Fountain Valley.

"This will definitely help us react in emergency situations," said Robert J. Heath, director of golf at Pelican Hill Golf Club near Newport Beach. "We're even thinking of buying another one."

About five players have had heart attacks at Pelican Hill over the past decade, Heath said, but no one has died on the links.

Automated external defibrillators retail for about $3,500. Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. gave Hoag the products for distribution.

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Marc Ballon covers the biomedical and biotechnology industry for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7439 and at marc.ballon@latimes.com.

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