main hospital building at night


Grateful patient story


...this past March was COVID-19.  

“We came back when the government instructed all Canadians to return, but I started feeling unwell early on during my quarantine at home,” she recalls.

By the 4th day back in Eastern Ontario, Marie* (name changed to protect privacy) was coughing and had shortness of breath, so she decided to visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Hawkesbury. There, her oxygen levels were so low the doctor on-site recommended she go to the hospital immediately.

Once at the Hawkesbury General Hospital, Marie’s illness worsened. It became apparent that her rapidly deteriorating condition required more intensive care, so her doctors arranged for a transfer to Cornwall Community Hospital.

“CCH is the only hospital outside of Ottawa in our region with ventilator capacity,” says Jeanette Despatie, President and CEO, Cornwall Community Hospital. “Our physicians and staff have trained extensively to help give patients like Marie the best chance at recovery. We are proud to offer this life-saving equipment and important medical expertise, especially during the pandemic.”

Much of Marie’s memory from her time spent at Cornwall Community Hospital is vague. She was in a coma for three and a half weeks at CCH and remembers waking up unsure of where she was or what had happened. Through the fog of COVID-19, she does remember the kindness of a nurse she calls “my angel.” Awakening from her coma, Marie says, “after I had the ventilator removed, all I wanted were popsicles, and she made sure I had some!”

When she was strong enough, Marie was discharged back to Hawkesbury General Hospital. With the sun shining through the door, paramedics brought her outside for the first time in weeks and staff played the Beatles’ song, “Here comes the sun”. Her care team all clapped and cheered; a meaningful moment for all hospital employees who were involved in Marie’s care. In total, she spent over 50 days in hospital between Hawkesbury and Cornwall during her ordeal with COVID-19. When asked about CCH, she says, “I am extremely grateful for the care I received, and for the staff who saved my life.”