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Golf course defibrillator may have helped save man's life

An avid golfer who suffered a heart attack Wednesday morning while playing at Bennett Valley Golf Course is alive thanks to the quick thinking of firefighters and a recently donated defibrillator machine.

Oscar Barragan, 76, was walking up the 14th fairway with golfing buddy Fred Rose and two others shortly after 11 a.m. when he collapsed unexpectedly.

“We were just walking up to his ball and he was talking and he just kind of quit in mid-sentence,” Rose said. “I turned around he was just flat on his back.”

Rose dialed 911, and dispatchers sent Engine 4 to respond from the station about two miles away on Yulupa Avenue.

Capt. Mark Harrison got the call and, familiar with the challenges of treating medical emergencies on the golf course, asked dispatch to alert course officials to have two golf carts ready and waiting for them when they arrived.

That call may have made all the difference because it also alerted course staff to immediately race to the scene with the defibrillator machine recently donated to the course by the Bennett Valley Junior Golf Club, said Derek Felciano, the assistant golf pro.

“The paramedics said that machine saved his life,” Felciano said.

Rose said a group of golfers behind them that included retired firefighters saw what had happened and began CPR.

Harrison and two firefighter-paramedics arrived on scene minutes later in their golf cart and continued treating Barragan until the ambulance arrived and transported Barragan to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit Wednesday evening according to his wife, JoAnn.

Barragan, a retired underwriter at State Farm Insurance, has lived for years in the Montgomery Village neighborhood and golfs at the course at least twice a week, she said.

As she awaits word on her husband's condition, JoAnn Barragan said she is grateful to those who have given him a fighting chance.

“I just want to thank everybody that helped him,” she said.

Over the years Barragan has donated used golf equipment to the Junior Golf Club, which helps kids under 18 play in the summer, and some of that money may have helped purchase the defibrillator, Felciano said.

“In essence, this man saved his own life,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater.

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