Coronavirus Patient Recounts Coming ‘One Inch From Death’

Tarrah Gibbons
March 16, 2020 - 3:11 pm
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Marc Thibault experienced a serious health scare at the hands of the coronavirus. He even recounts feeling like he was close to death.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Thibault recalled the time he felt groggy, surrounded by hospital machines. As he looked up, he saw a priest with protective gear on by his bedside at the Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island.

“Holy cow,” Thibault said. “I’m 48 years old and I’m getting my last rites.”

Thibault remembered the days of pain and fear while being in an intensive care unit. He has been there for 13 days fighting the virus that attacked his lungs.

“I was one inch from death,” he said. “No doubt about it. No doubt about it.”

It all started when Thibault traveled to Europe from Feb. 14 to Feb. 22. He went through Italy in his travels. Two others from the trip also tested positive but were not deemed critical.

The married father of two is the popular vice principal of student life at Saint Raphael Academy, a private Catholic school in Pawtucket, a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island.

Thibault wanted to travel to expand his students’ minds and was thrilled to chaperone the trip that began in Milan and ended in Barcelona.

When the group landed in Italy, he found it weird that airport employees were wearing hazmat suits. During the two day stay, he was glad to be leaving when he heard Italy was starting its lockdown.

He had no symptoms during the trip, but once he arrived at home, he felt sluggish.

“Something is wrong,” he told his wife. Thibault has asthma, but he exercises every day and said he rarely gets sick.

When he got tested, he said the virus hit him “like a hurricane.”

“The feeling of choking. That was the worst part,” he said. “You feel like you’re asphyxiating, and you’re panicking because you can’t breathe.”

He is worried some people don’t realize how serious this virus is.

“It almost killed me,” he said. “It’s alarming when I hear people minimize it as a simple cold. It was no simple cold for me.”

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