Emotional homecoming for B.C. man after 105-day COVID-19 hospitalization

It was cheers and tears in West Vancouver Thursday afternoon, where a small crowd of socially-distanced supporters turned out to welcome Greg Phillips home from the hospital.

Phillips, a physician himself, is one of the more than 3,000 British Columbians who have contracted COVID-19.

Unlike most of those people, Phillips spent 105 days in hospital.

Phillips’ husband Matt Pettigrew said the ordeal has been the challenge of a lifetime.

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“If you told me on day one that it was going to be 105 days I don’t think I could have done it, but with the support of all these people, family and loved ones we did it,” he told Global News.

Phillips was diagnosed with the virus in mid-March, after the couple returned from a trip to the U.S.

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Less than 10 days later, he was in the intensive care unit.

Making matters worse, hospital safety restrictions meant it was 54 days before the couple were even allowed to visit in person, forcing them to rely on telephone and video chat to stay connected.

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The virus ravaged Phillips, attacking his lungs, kidney, heart and brain. According to Pettigrew, he’s been left with lasting nerve damage in one arm, and a damaged vocal chord.

“There were several times where he very nearly did not make it,” said Pettigrew.

Friends, neighbours and even some of Phillips’ patients turned up outside his home Thursday to celebrate his recovery.

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Shamira Janmohmade said Phillips has been her family’s doctor for 19 years, adding she was “thrilled” to see him up and about.

“For the longest time it was touch and go. It’s been a long recovery. He’s lost so much weight,” she said.

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“We’ve been rooting for him and just showering them with positive comments.”

Pettigrew says his husband still has a ways to go before he’s fully recovered, but that now that Phillips his home they can start to get their lives back on track back on track.

“It’s overwhelming but we’re all very, very relieved to have him home.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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