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Patient Story: Howard Blair

Howard Blair, 59, is a housing intervention specialist with a nonprofit organization. He assists his clients with finding shelter and other needs they may have. He loves his job and loves helping people. But last year, it was Howard who needed help.

Having had back surgery 20 years ago, Howard was familiar with back pain. But the kind of discomfort he began having last year was different and more intense. It got so bad, in fact, that he could hardly move at times. It was a nearly impossible challenge for Howard to climb the stairs to his front door. 

The pain in Howard’s back got so bad he had to make several trips to the Emergency Room (ER). One of them was in an ambulance in the middle of the night, which took him to the EvergreenHealth ER. 

“It was the worst pain of my life, so I prayed and asked for help,” says Howard. 

An MRI revealed that one of his discs had completely ruptured. Surgery was Howard’s only option.

This all happened during the height of the COVID-19 shutdown, and Howard was worried he wouldn’t be able to get the needed operation. He turned to the Eastside Neuroscience Institute and neurosurgeon Amitoz Manhas, MD, took over his care.

“He was the answer to my prayers,” says Howard.

Dr. Manhas moved everything along and, with COVID-19 protocols in place, the procedure was scheduled. Two hours after the surgery, Howard could stand up without any pain. 

“I’m so very grateful for the help I got,” says Howard, who is also grateful to be back at work again helping others.  

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