Meguiar’s president, Car Crazy host thanks hospital staff for care
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MONTEREY, Calif. — Barry Meguiar, president of the international car-care products company Meguiar’s Inc., returned to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula today to thank staff members who cared for him as he battled a serious viral infection.
Meguiar was released on Saturday after more than two weeks in the hospital. He is returning today to his Southern California home and his passions — running the company his grandfather founded more than 100 years ago and entertaining and informing car enthusiasts through his Car Crazy television and radio programs.
But before he left, he wanted to visit Community Hospital to praise his caregivers and take photos with those who, like him, are self-professed “car guys.”
“I was as good as dead, and this hospital saved my life,” Meguiar says. “I know this hospital pretty well now. I love this hospital.”
Meguiar came to the Monterey Peninsula for the annual Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach, but was hospitalized before the event began. He was admitted on August 12 after experiencing difficulty breathing and severe pain in his shoulders and upper back. His breathing worsened and he was put on a respirator. An X-ray showed fluid in his lungs and he had an enlarged spleen and liver.
Meguiar was diagnosed with atypical viral pneumonia and Epstein-Barr, a common virus that, unlike this case, usually has mild symptoms. It is believed he contracted the virus while in New Zealand filming a segment of Car Crazy.
“This was a very serious illness, complicated initially by the lack of a clear cause, adding to the anxiety of the family and friends who remained at his bedside,” says Dr. Richard Gray, medical director of Community Hospital’s Tyler Heart Institute. “Now, the cheerful, upbeat personality for which he is well known has returned, and he is making rapid strides to gain back his strength and lung function.”
Gray did not treat Meguiar while he was at Community Hospital, but became a regular visitor to talk about their shared interest in cars. Gray was among staff members who, at Meguiar’s invitation, brought special cars to the hospital today for the farewell visit. Gray arrived in his restored 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II.
Meguiar praised Community Hospital’s doctors and nurses for their skill, communication, and compassion. He says he became an expert at hospitals through the illnesses of his parents and that his experience at Community Hospital was nothing like those experiences.
“The personal attention from doctors and staff is amazing and you get a constant flow of information,” Meguiar says. “Everyone is in motion all the time. When I needed something, I never had to worry. If I get sick, I want to come back to Community Hospital.”
Steven Packer, MD, president and CEO of Community Hospital, thanked Meguiar for sharing his appreciation with staff members and doctors.
“We’re very proud of the work we do every day,” Packer says, “and it’s always gratifying to hear stories like this one.”
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, founded in 1934 and located at 23625 Holman Highway in Monterey, has grown and evolved in direct response to the changing healthcare needs of the people it serves. It is a nonprofit healthcare provider with 205 staffed acute-care hospital beds and 28 skilled-nursing beds, delivering a continuum of care from birth to end of life, and every stage in between. It serves the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding communities through locations including the main hospital, outpatient facilities, satellite laboratories, a mental health clinic, a short-term skilled nursing facility, Hospice of the Central Coast, and business offices. Find more information about Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula at www.chomp.org