Patient's stories

Philippe Gravel


Dr François Marquis, intensiviste HMR, et Philippe Grave, patient

Dr. François Marquis and Philippe Gravel


In 2020, COVID-19 tragically took the life of Philippe Gravel’s mother, leaving his entire family distraught. That led him to step up his efforts to apply health measures and follow the guidelines in effect to the letter. When he first noticed pulmonary symptoms, he initially dismissed the possibility that he had been in contact with anyone with COVID-19, convinced that he had been too careful for that to happen. And yet, the virus managed to get to him. On a cold night in January 2021, this resident of Montreal’s east end contacted the emergency services, unable to breathe.

On arriving at the HMR, he was immediately taken to the ICU. His memories of the most critical period of his hospitalization are hazy. He recalls the rare moments when he regained consciousness. “I kept waking up completely panicked, unable to understand where I was. Each time, a nurse immediately held my hand to calm me down until I fell asleep again,” said Philippe, clearly choked up.

Five-star team

He cannot forget the dedication and professionalism of Dr François Marquis, head of the intensive care unit at the HMR. “These people saved my life. They’re a five-star team,” he says.

Prior to this episode, Philippe had all kinds of plans lined up, travelled a lot and worked out regularly. While being so fit should have helped him fight the disease, his recovery has proved to be challenging as he developed what’s known as “long COVID.” More than a year after being hospitalized, he still feels the impacts of the dreaded virus. Even today, this disrupts his life almost daily. Despite this, Philippe is pleased to know that he can count on the expertise of Dr Marquis who still monitors him and who, thanks to research, has tools to counteract the remaining symptoms of the virus. “She shows exceptional humanity—it’s such a privilege to be treated by Dr Marquis!”

I owe my life to dr marquis and the entire intensive care team. I’m eternally grateful to them!Philippe Gravel