A brush with death aged 11 motivated a young Michael Gantier to pursue a career in science. This is his story.
My lab is working on a potential treatment for life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms, which includes acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. These are reactions caused by excessive inflammation – part of the body’s own natural immune response to infection with this virus.
What many people don’t know about me is that when I was an 11-year-old living in France, I suffered sepsis after surgery to remove my appendix. I was in hospital for a week after the surgery and when my situation failed to improve, I was operated on again. Doctors found a massive infection in my peritoneal cavity. If they had operated even a few hours later, I wouldn’t be here to tell this story.
This was a turning point for me. I nearly died. I was old enough to understand what happened and it was very difficult to comprehend. It definitely motivated me to work in science to try to understand more about sepsis.
Surviving a near-death experience makes you realise what is important and that you shouldn’t take life for granted. COVID-19 is driving home the fact to so many that we are not immortal. And unfortunately, there are not always treatments available to help us when we get sick.
I was fortunate. I was treated for sepsis and I survived. Hundreds of thousands of people with COVID-19 haven’t made it.
There are few proven treatments and no vaccine yet for COVID-19.
Medical research is essential to solve all the pieces of the puzzle when it comes to this virus – this is true of many other diseases and conditions. Funding is needed to enable scientists to identify the problem, and then make the drugs to solve it.
I hope you will consider a donation to Hudson Institute to support all our research into COVID-19. This way, our scientists can continue to be part of the solution to this global health pandemic.
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