How a simple scan saved a man's life

Arturo Banuelos calls his wife a 'savior' for getting him to the doctor in time

Bakersfield, Calif. - It's national Heart Health Month. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America - which is what makes heart health awareness so important. 

A local couple learned this first-hand just one month ago. 

Jackie and Arturo Banuelos have been husband and wife for almost two years. Like any couple, wife is good at keeping an eye on husband's health.  

"It's something I want to do but I don't want to find something out. But I said no, sign me up," Jackie Banuelos recalled her experience before signing up for a free vascular screening last month. "And I said oh by the way, add my husband on there, too." 

Back in January, Jackie signed both herself and her husband up to be scanned. 

"The program is really important to the community because it is all preventative," Casandra Rosette of Bakersfield Memorial Hospital told us. 

The program is Dare to C.A.R.E. at Memorial. It provides free vascular screenings - essentially a check-up for your arteries and veins. 

Jackie was worried for herself, what with a family history of heart trouble. But she was also concerned for her husband, Art. He had high blood pressure and a bad habit of smoking since he was 15 years old.

While they were nervous, the Banuelos went in for their screening. 

"Ya know, if I'm going to spend the rest of my life with this woman I better make it right. So I said okay, we'll go," Arturo said. 

While Jackie's test went fine, Art wasn't so fortunate. 

The doctor found four aneurysms in Arturo's abdomen. Three of which measured five centimeters or larger.

"I was scared to even let him breathe because I was scared that it could rupture," Jackie recalled. 

Art's surgeon Dr. Miro said, Art is lucky that he came in when he did. 

"If this had not been picked up, he surely would have faced a ruptured aneurysm," vascular surgeon Dr. Miro told us of Art's situation.

Sara Honari, another vascular surgeon, spoke to us about the risks if an aneurysm does rupture. 

"50 percent don't even make it to the hospital," Honari said," and of those 50 percent that do make it to the hospital, only 50 percent actually make it to the operating room."

Arturo went under the knife one month ago. His surgery, under the steady hands of Dr. Miro, a complete success. 

"If I had a billion dollars I would have given it to him [Dr. Miro] because, he saved his life. He literally saved his life. Otherwise, he [Art] wouldn't be here," Jackie said. 

Today, Jackie and Art? Just thankful for more time together. 

Free vascular screenings are offered by Dare to C.A.R.E. at Dignity Health - Memorial Hospital. If caught early, vascular disease can be treated to prevent serious problems, such as heart attack, stroke, amputations, or even death. 

You are eligible for a free screening if you are: 

  • Over age 60
  • Over age 50 with risk factors including:
    • Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Family history of heart disease
    • Lack of physical activity 
    • Obesity
  • Over age 40 with diabetes

Contact Memorial to schedule your free screening at 632-7438

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