Surviving COVID-19: Linda's Story of Hope and Determination

In early 2020, 70-year-old Linda Lam became one of the first COVID-19 patients in Ontario to be intubated and connected to a ventilator after returning home to Richmond Hill from an exhilarating two-week cruise along the Nile River in Egypt.

Linda Lam with her son, and his hands on her shoulders

After arriving at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, Linda was promptly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as her health declined rapidly. At Mackenzie Health, Linda received exceptional care from nurses and physicians — including Dr. Danny Chen, Infectious Diseases Specialist.

As Linda’s son, Kevin, recounts, “Once my mom was put into a medically induced coma, we started preparing for the worst. As a last resort, Dr. Chen said there was a chance the experimental drug Remdesivir could help save our mom’s life. We knew we had to say yes.”

Dr. Chen’s expertise, along with the extraordinary measures taken by Linda’s care team in the ICU, ultimately saved her life. 

A few days after her first dose of Remdesivir, Linda began to show signs of improvement and, after seven long weeks in the ICU, Linda woke up. She soon began breathing on her own again. Linda was then transferred out of the ICU to a medical unit — a moment she and the entire Mackenzie Health team won’t forget any time soon.

Linda’s recovery gave hope to us all and showed, despite the fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, what our health care professionals — from the emergency room to the ICU, to the medical wards to the rehab units — working together could achieve,” says Dr. Chen, Infectious Diseases Specialist.

Today, more than one year later, Linda continues to embark on her long road to recovery. Linda is exercising daily by doing tai chi and going for walks whenever possible. She’s kept in touch with Mackenzie Health physicians and continues to share her steady progress.

Looking back, Kevin is certain his mom survived because of the care she received at Mackenzie Health.

Linda’s family is happy to report that she is now well on her way to recovery. “My mom survived COVID-19 because of the amazing team of health care workers at Mackenzie Health,” says Kevin. “We will always be grateful.”