HERE’S THAT POPULAR MECHANICS STORY ON PORTABLE DEFIBRILLATORS that I mentioned below. They were kind enough to make it available on the web in response to my mention. PM editor Jim Meigs writes:

I think what’s cool about the study is that it shows that ordinary citizens are eager to use the technology made available to them to save a life. They don’t have to wait for the experts to show up. And a 60% survival rate is pretty amazing, given the circumstances.

Yes. He also forwards this abstract of a New England Journal of Medicine story on automated defibrillators, and this other article on the topic.

UPDATE: Reader Greg Gray emails:

In your item today (10/21) about home defibrillators, you said “… — it doesn’t strike me as a mass-market item.” I’d have to stand in disagreement with that idea.

It seems to me that a home defibrillator /*would */become a mass-market item, to be stored in each home along with the medical kit and fire extinguishers, and in the trunk in each car along with the jumper cables, blankets and bottled water. Granted, most people probably give little thought to the possibility of a heart attack until they’ve reached at least middle-age, but with a little advertising push… who knows?

The main barrier would seem to be price. Once defibs reach commodity status, everyone will own one.

Good point. So maybe Amazon’s heavy advertising is helping!