#happylife: the lifesaving decision a Purple Heart recipient made when he suffered a stroke

#happylife: the lifesaving decision a Purple Heart recipient made when he suffered a stroke

SPOKANE, Wash. - For Spokane's Randy Howard, two things have always been constant in his life.

“Next thing I know I'm on my back, because you don't hear the shot that hit's ya, and he put the bullet right here,” he said.

Randy has always been a fighter, both on and off the battlefield.

He added, “anyway I went to the doctor and after they did testing, I found out I needed 7 bypasses!”

A few days back, this life-long Spokane resident invited KXLY 4 News in to his home, to share with us stories from his time in Vietnam, which started just months after his Lewis and Clark high school graduation. There, he received 5 Purple Hearts in just 15 months of service.

He explained, “the one that hit me in the leg, the second time I was wounded caused a lot of nerve damage, and it affects me still today.”

Randy has enough scars for 5 lifetimes, but the hits just keep coming.

“As it progressed it started getting worse, I couldn't talk and everything came out wrong,” he added.

In November, Randy was at the bank with his wife when he started showing symptoms of a stroke.

“I said you better call the hospital, and she said which one and I said Deaconess,” he shared.

That's where constant number 2 comes in, Multicare Deaconess Hospital.

“My first deal there was my appendix.”

Sixty years later, he credits the comprehensive stroke center with saving his life.

“It was just like bing bang boom.”

It's no mistake he felt like his time there went fast. Last year, Multicare Deaconess changed their emergency room procedure for stroke patients. It focuses on cutting down on waiting times, getting a cat scan and life saving medicine as quick as possible.

“In a stroke, people are losing brain cells, millions by the minute,” explained Randy's doctor, Madeleine Geraghty, a stroke specialist for Multicare Deaconess.

Dr. Geraghty said though that it was Randy who saved his own life.

“Randy is a perfect example of doing everything right and had a wonderful recovery because of it. Randy knew something wrong and instead of putting off he called 911.  He got the ambulance there and he came straight in.”

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