The Miracle Man, One Year Later

By Chiara Marcello

Mario Castillo Tamayo was the first COVID-19 patient to be admitted into Humber River Hospital. He was placed into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on March 26 and was put on life support shortly after.

Castillo Tamayo’s oxygen levels were so low that the doctors did not think he would survive. Nothing they did seemed to work due to the severe damage to his lungs caused by COVID-19. “The doctors didn’t know what to do because they thought I was going to die, but they stayed with me.”

In May, Castillo Tamayo miraculously began to improve. He was taken off the ventilator and discharged from the ICU, COVID-19-free, on June 7. Dr. Jamie Spiegelman calls what happened to Castillo Tamayo “a little bit of a miracle,” and one of Humber’s “biggest success stories.”

Just over a year later, Castillo Tamayo and his wife, Maricar Pagulayan, paid a visit to the staff at Humber River Hospital and spoke to us about their experiences and ongoing recovery.

What was it like to be back in the ICU after so long?
We never thought our lives would be back to normal again. This is why we thank God and are so, so grateful to be here.

What would you like to say to the doctors and nurses that helped you?
I want to say, everybody, thank you. For taking care of me, for the operations, for everything while I was in the hospital, thank you.

What would you like to say to the doctors and nurses that helped your husband?
Thank you to all the doctors and nurses. They never gave up on my husband. They called me every day to update me, and I really appreciate all they did for him. Thank you to everybody, and may God bless them all.

How has the recovery been?
I am not 100% better, but I will hopefully get there soon. My hands and feet are still weak because COVID damaged my nerves, but I am getting better. Slowly, God has helped us get back to normal, and I am looking forward to getting back to work.