Faint of heart: Superman and his kryptonite
A job as a police officer is not for the faint of heart. During a 34-year career with the Spokane Police Department, Marty Hill spent time as a homicide investigator, a hostage negotiator, a member of the SWAT team and a member of the sexual assault unit.
Hill, a father of two, has seen things that most of us could never imagine — but day after day he faithfully returned to his post protecting and serving the Lilac City.
“I saw the worst that humanity can do to one another,” Hill says. “I also saw families at their worst time when they had just lost a loved one.”
But like Superman, Hill also had his own kryptonite — his heart. Recently he suffered a heart attack and was rushed to MultiCare Deaconess North Emergency Department. With 100 percent blockage in his left artery, Hill suffered what is known as a “widow maker” heart attack.
The artery — specifically the left descending artery — replenishes the heart with fresh blood so it gets the oxygen it needs to pump correctly. When it’s blocked, like it was for Hill, the heart immediately stops.
When a patient suffers this type of heart attack, seeking medical treatment significantly increases their chances of survival. Hill was rushed from the North Emergency Department to MultiCare Deaconess Hospital to receive the immediate specialized care he needed.
“I honestly did not believe I was going to make it,” Hill explains.
Hill was scheduled for a triple bypass surgery. The surgery became complicated because one of his arteries had such significant blockage that it could not be bypassed.
He continued to suffer until undergoing a special procedure offered only in select centers that put multiple stents to open up this third artery — giving Hill a new lease on life.
A man of faith, Hill believes that God has a plan for all of us and he believed that it was his time to go to heaven. But even in his time of need, Hill wasn’t worried about himself.
“My fear of death was not for myself, but for my family,” Hill says.
He remembers having a conversation with his daughter about where he kept his life insurance policy to prepare for his death. This proved to be very emotional conversation for his daughter, as she instantly began weeping at the thought of losing her father.
Her fears were never realized, and Hill credits the care that he received at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital.
“I remember opening up my eyes in ICU and I couldn’t believe I made it,” Hill explains.
After retiring from the police force, Hill has worked for the attorney general’s office for the last three years. His work there helps bring a backlog of sexual assault cases to justice.
In addition to helping others, Hill is committed to make himself healthier. He has made some dietary changes and keeps a regular workout regimen five days a week.
“I’ve never felt better,” Hill says. “The care I received gave me the gift of life.”
And he has certainly made it a life worth living.
On Jan. 25, Hill was honored at center court of the Gonzaga men’s basketball game. Throughout the season, Gonzaga has honored a MultiCare Pulse patient at every home game.
While Hill is not one for the limelight, he continued to praise the care he received from Pulse.
“I was truly humbled,” he explains. “The real heroes are the providers that took care of me.”