‘A medical miracle:’ Local veteran turns tragic accident into motivation to succeed
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Almost three years after suffering a severe heat stroke while training in the Marine Corps, one local veteran is now beating the odds and considered a “medical miracle” by doctors.
In July 2016, Kennewick native Bryant Scott was running through a training course at Camp Pendleton in San Diego – about to set a new record – when he slipped, hit his head and passed out in over 100-degree weather. He was found two hours later and immediately flown to the hospital.
However, Scott’s struggle was far from over. His organs were failing, and he was in a coma for over a week. Doctors gave him a ten percent chance of survival.
“And that was being nice,” said Scott.
While Scott was in the hospital, a San Diego police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty – an officer that was registered as an organ donor. Doctors considered Scott as a potential candidate for the officer’s liver, but they ultimately decided against it because of how serious Scott’s condition was.
“They didn’t want to give the liver to a vegetable,” he said.
However, Scott said that one of the doctors prayed over him while he was in the coma, and as she was praying he squeezed her hand. That’s when she overrode the decision, and doctors decided to have him undergo the liver transplant.
“Slowly things started to come back,” said Scott. “My heart started to beat on its own, and my lungs started to breathe on their own and my brain started to work.”
Despite the improvements, doctors warned him of multiple, potential side effects. They told him he wouldn’t be able to even walk again.
However, Scott continued to surpass the doctors’ expectations, going on to not only walk and run but eventually run multiple marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. In the spring of 2017, Scott completed the 50-mile Badger Mountain Challenge in Tri-Cities.
“The doctors called me a medical miracle,” said Scott.
After the initial recovery, Scott said he still was on dialysis for a month due to kidney failure. Currently, he still has to take pills daily for nerve damage, and he has foot drop – a condition often caused by compression of a nerve. He also has some memory issues, but overall they have improved.
“I just try and educate myself and stay fit and sharp as best as I can, and that seems to work,” he said.
While still in the hospital, Scott was able to finish a masters degree in criminology and administration. He is currently working on his second masters degree online – an MBA in data analytics and information systems management.
Though Scott was medically retired from the military after the accident, he still takes pride in his role as a Marine and remains positive despite a change in his life plans and the difficulties he’s had to overcome.
“In the Marine Corps there’s a thing called ‘being moto’ which can have a negative connotation, but the way I see it is, if you’re not motivated and happy about where you’re at and what you’re doing then you shouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “I loved being a Marine, but I’ve kept a positive dispostion which i think is also what helped my recovery.”
Scott has also worked to raise awareness of the Marines in his unit who were deployed to Syria just weeks after his accident. He even arranged to have care packages sent over to them. To him, its important to make sure those who are serving our country don’t get overlooked or forgotten.
“There are some people that see Veterans Day as just a free holiday or a good reason to drink or have a bbq,” he said. “But for other people it really means a lot, so I think it’s important to be mindful of that.”