Dr. Cody Bengoa Purchases AED for Optometry Practice

A local optometrist recently joined Humboldt County's "HeartShare" community.

Dr. Cody Bengoa, O.D., F.C.O.V.D. purchased an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), which has now been installed in his office, located at 3302 Traders Way in Winnemucca.

That makes him the newest member of Humboldt General Hospital's "HeartShare" community—a network of more than 200 AED locations throughout Humboldt County that are armed and ready to save lives in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)—a disruption in the heart's normal rhythm—is a leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States and other countries.

In the U.S. alone, approximately 424,000 people of all ages will experience SCA this year. That's more than 1,000 per day; nine out of 10 victims will die.

In fact, the number of people who die each year from SCA is roughly equivalent to the number who die from Alzheimer's disease, assault with firearms, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents, prostate cancer and suicides combined.

"Sudden cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition," confirmed Humboldt General Hospital Public Access Defibrillator Program Manager Debbie Whittaker, "but if bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using AEDs before EMS arrives, about four of every 10 victims will live."

According to Whittaker, the electric shock delivered by an AED briefly stops all electrical activity in the heart, which gives the organ a chance to resume its normal rhythm.

Dr. Bengoa said he and his office staff were updating their CPR certification when HGH EMS Rescue Paramedic Dylan Angus suggested the option of having an AED onsite.

"We found out that nobody in this vicinity has one," said Dr. Bengoa, "so we thought it would be beneficial for our office and our neighbors to have one."

Whittaker said the units are economical to purchase and easy to use.

"When you compare the cost of an AED versus the value of a human life, there really is no question that we need more of these units in the community," she said. "We are very grateful to Dr. Bengoa and his staff for their decision to join our AED network."

Dr. Bengoa has been in practice for over 10 years. He served the Reno community for two years before returning to Winnemucca eight years ago. He has been at his current location since December 2012.

For more information on the Humboldt General Hospital Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program, "HeartShare," please call Humboldt General Hospital Public Access Defibrillator Program Manager Debbie Whittaker at (775) 304-4747.