Phillip Guttmann was admitted to CHA HPMC in mid-March after testing positive for COVID-19. After spending almost seven weeks in the ICU—where our dedicated team of doctors and nurses treat the most critical patients—and being cared for by our compassionate healthcare heroes, Phillip wanted them to know how much they meant to his recovery. Below is an excerpt* from his letter to our staff:

“This is not an easy letter to write but I want to do my best to express my deepest thanks for the medical professionals at Hollywood Presbyterian who worked so hard to help save my life. Due to their efforts and faith, my life had—and has—meaning and I am writing this letter today…

There was an army of brave and generous medical professionals who worked tirelessly to make sure I was taken care of. Behind the scenes, I know there were doctors that I didn’t see or talk to frequently, but they were carefully examining my labs, vitals, new treatment possibilities, and were making critical decisions to save me. It was partly through this joint effort that I made it through… I know there were people who were being treated a few feet away from me, who wanted to live, but sadly did not win their battle. I can only imagine the great toll these losses have taken on their families and friends, and on your staff. I don’t know why I was chosen to survive… On September 1 this year, I turned 42 years old. I celebrated my birthday in Minneapolis with my family (socially distanced and wearing masks) with good food, cake, tears, joy, and so much gratitude for the doctors, nurses, and all medical staff who helped me. They gave me another chance at life. Every time they put on their PPE and enter a patient room, they sooth a frightened soul and give them a chance to heal and recover. This may be the noblest work I can think of. I will try to return the favor by living a giving life and making a positive impact on the world where and when I can.

Sadly, I cannot remember everyone who helped me by face or name… I do recall a few like Eddie, who was my nurse on the regular COVID floor before I was sent to ICU. After I woke up from my coma, I remember the great care I received from three nurses–Kevin, Elisabeth, and Kathy–who showed me incredible warmth, kindness and patience. When I asked my speech therapist Rebecca if I’d ever eat again, she laughed and said, “Oh you’ll be eating big meals in no time” and she was right. I am eating (probably too much) yet again. I will remember these people with an indescribable gratitude the rest of my life. There are several others whose face I remember, but cannot recall their names. I can only hope to see them when I visit again, so I might thank them in person. I remember Ms. Farideh Ara (Director of Critical Care Units) before I went into a coma and after, on my final day in the ICU.

I hope I can provide some sense of relief for your medical staff that they can see me now–stronger, healthier, and recovered. They helped make this possible and their sacrifice, hard work, and dedication does have such powerful results… Thank you to all staff for saving me. Because of them, I breathe fresh air, look up at the night sky, and tell someone I love them every day. I am healthy again and it’s amazing. There aren’t words to describe my appreciation for you all for pulling me through my most frightening and critical ordeal.”

Philip has recovered from COVID-19 and our doctors and nurses were overjoyed to learn of his recovery and know that they made such a difference. We are grateful to our caregivers for uplifting and impacting countless lives every day.
*The original message has been lightly edited for formatting.
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